Friday, August 28, 2020

Bill & Ted Face the Music: Movie Review

Eternal optimism and humour.
Bill & Ted pick up, not right where we left them, but right where we thought they’d be, 29 years later. They’re married to their princesses, they each have a daughter, and they’re still trying to make a go of the Wyld Stallyns, very unsuccessfully with Ted’s disapproving father and younger brother not missing a beat. This time, they’re expected to save the world with their music, with only an hour or so to do it in.   2020

Directed by: Dean Parisot

Screenplay by: Ed Soloman and Chris Matheson

Starring: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter

What saves the movie is the casting. When the movie was first announced, around a year ago, with Brigette Lundy-Paine playing Billie, Ted (Keanu Reeves)’ daughter and Samara Weaving playing Thea, Bill (Alex Winter)’s daughter, the casting seemed perfect. And it is. What seemed perfect on paper, is even more delightful on the screen. Lundy-Paine and Weaving have excellent chemistry together, as if they’ve been best friends since birth, and in unison, they call their fathers “Dads!”. They are definitely daddy’s girls, being the feminine spitting-image of Bill and Ted in their early 20s, and trying to take after them musically.

Other casting decisions see the return of Hal Landon Jr as Ted’s father, the return of William Sadler as Death, the re-casting of Beck Bennett as Ted’s brother, now a cop, obviously. It also adds in comedians Jillian Bell and Kristen Schaal as a therapist and Rufus’s daughter, respectively. Jillian Bell joins the madness when Bill and Ted agree to go to marriage counselling, because as they put it, they are a couple of couples. Their wives are just a little concerned that they love each other and their music more than they love them. Their wives know their time-travelling tales to be true, therapist Jillian Bell though, not so much.

When Bill and Ted are tasked with saving the world, the film splits off into two main parts: Bill and Ted go off to find future versions of themselves trying to figure out which song is going to save the world; while Billie and Thea go to the past to find the greatest musicians of all time to join the Wyld Stallyns. Billie and Thea have, by far, the better storyline. The humour of the future versions of Bill and Ted wear off quickly, their appearances garner a chuckle but that’s it. However, the movie finally succeeds in the brilliance and charm of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with Billie and Thea meeting Jimi Hendrix, Louis Armstrong, Mozart, and Chinese and African musicians from the B.C. years, and philosopher Kid Cudi and bringing them all to present day.

Brigette Lundy-Paine, Kid Cudi and Samara Weaving star in
Bill & Ted Face the Music. Courtesy of VVS Films.

Lundy-Paine and Weaving get all the better jokes with showing Armstrong an iPhone, and then having Jimi Hendrix mirror a Mozart concerto in 18th century Vienna. Dads and daughters are finally united in a present-day world which is on the brink of destruction, and two things are immediately noticeable: how quick the movie’s run-time is and how this make-believe present-day world doesn’t seem that far off.

The filmmakers finished off the movie with a request they made back in March 2020, with home videos of fans dancing and playing air guitar in quarantine from around the world. It is a really nice touch and a fitting end to Bill and Ted and their eternal optimism and humour.