Iconic time-traveling duo Bill & Ted make a welcome to the big screen after a 29-year hiatus in Bill & Ted Face the Music from United Artists Releasing. Director Dean Parisot helms the threequel while the franchise’s regular screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon provide the screenplay.
William S. “Bill” Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) and Theodore “Ted” Logan are now middle-aged men, who have yet to live up to their musical destiny as foretold by their future time-traveling mentor Rufus. Bill is married to Princess Joanna (Jayma Mays) and has a daughter named Theodora “Thea” Preston (Samara Weaving). In contrast, Ted is married to Princess Elizabeth (Erinn Hayes) with a daughter of his own, Wilhelmina “Billie” Logan (Brigette Lundy-Paine).
Like their dads, Billie & Thea have musical aspirations and share a laid back outlook on life. Before long, Bill & Ted receive an unexpected visit from Rufus’s daughter Kelly (Kristen Schaal), who informs the comrades that they have to create a song in 78 minutes. Should Bill & Ted fail, all life on Earth and the entire universe will be eradicated. Bill & Ted then hop into a telephone booth to seek the assistance of famous musicians, family members, and old friends to complete their mission.
Due to the star’s and writers’ respect for the characters, fans had to wait almost three decades for the newest film. While the ten-year-old me was clamoring for another sequel, back in 1991, the 39-year-old man fully respects that the team waited. Instead of making cash-grab sequels, screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon let the characters grow up with their audience.
The problems that Bill & Ted face is something anyone can relate to. The script showcases these characters in their forties, facing marriage trouble, trying to be a superhero to your kids. Not to mention having your dreams deferred when life gets in the way. While the script does showcase the severe side of maturity, it’s also fun as this a Bill & Ted movie after all.
Kid Cudi has a great extended cameo as himself. At the same time, Jillian Bell provides some funny moments as a therapist for Bill & Ted’s families. Fans of the series will also be happy to see the welcome return of supporting characters from the first two films including Missy (Amy Stoch), Ted’s little brother Deacon (Beck Bennett) and Ted’s dad (Hal Landon Jr.)
I have to say though, the character I was happiest to see return was William Sadler as Death. The angle the script takes to reunite Bill & Ted with death is unique and kept a smile on my face. I also enjoyed the numerous historical musicians featured in the film, which I won’t spoil here. Still, music fans are in for a treat.
Alex Winter & Keanu Reeves still have great chemistry as Bill & Ted. The chemistry carries over to Samara Weaving & Brigette Lundy-Paine, who portrays Bill & Ted’s daughters. One would think that there would be a set up for a spin-off focusing on the Weaving and Lundy-Paine characters, but thankfully there isn’t, and the film does end on a conclusive note.
Despite an abrupt ending, Bill & Ted Face the Music is still a fun watch for the series’ fans. Filled with enough laughs, heart, and callbacks to the previous films, Bill & Ted Face the Music is the rare threequel that doesn’t diminish its franchise.
Final Grade: B
Bill & Ted Face the Music opens in limited theaters today and is also available to watch via Video on Demand.