Talk about raising the stakes! In 1989, Bill & Ted – informed by a visitor from the future that they were destined for musical greatness – went on a most Excellent Adventure through time, to save themselves from a failing grade in high school history. In 1991, those same metalhead slackers went on a Bogus Journey involving The Grim Reaper, robotic duplicates, and a Battle of the Bands. Now – 25 years later – Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan (Keanu Reeves), aka “Wyld Stallyns,” must write the song that will save the entire universe – in the next 75 minutes! Fortunately, they still have access to their time-travel phone booth, and they have kids old enough to help: Bill’s daughter Thea (Samara Weaving) and Ted’s daughter Billie (Brigitte Lundy-Paine). And let’s just say – the apples don’t fall far from the tree.
Bill & Ted Face the Music is the final verse in a three-movie arc spanning three decades, and it more than serves its purpose: to reward longtime fans of the amiable dim duo and pay homage to their enduring relationship. The characters stay true to their man-child core, even as they attempt to navigate middle age, marriage to their historical princesses, and parenthood.
This is not a movie to just leap into without prior context. It’s about the friendship and the nostalgia, dude. And it’s totally wild (with an ‘i’) to see now-superstar Keanu Reeves (John Wick, Speed, The Matrix) re-embody Ted in all his heartwarming goofiness.
The film is directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) who says in the press notes, “The truth is, these guys (Winter and Reeves) love each other. This is a movie from their heart, to yours.” That really does come through. They didn’t have to make a B&T3. But fans have been asking for it, so they helped make it happen, even if it did take 30 years to come to fruition.
A talented and endearing supporting cast helps keep Bill & Ted Face the Music from going off the rails into total absurdist territory. In addition to the somewhat freakishly spot-on casting of Bill and Ted’s “mini me” daughters (Weaving, Ready or Not and Lundy-Paine, TV’s Atypical), the film features other new faces, as well as cameos from the previous films (including a hologram of the late George Carlin).
If you’ve never seen a Bill & Ted movie – or failed to embrace Wayne & Garth skits on SNL – then chances are you won’t be singing the praises of Face the Music anytime soon. You must surrender to the silly to fully appreciate the sweet. This movie is for those seeking an easy, 90-minute escape into the past and the future – to a place where music was, is, and will always be a great unifier. And where two dudes just want you to be excellent to each other – and party on.
[Note: The end credits feature some cool music; and if you make it all the way through, you’ll get rewarded with a brief post-credit scene with an even ‘older’ Bill and Ted.]