Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) ☆☆☆(3/4): They return triumphantly

“Bill & Ted Face the Music”, the long-awaited final chapter of the trilogy which was started with “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Journey” (1989), is packed with goofy charm and entertainment just like its two predecessors. While the setting and background are understandably changed in many aspects, the movie mostly stays close to what made its two predecessors into cult favourites, and I am glad to spend time again with its two incorrigibly dorky characters, who remain lovable as before while finally going through a little but precious bit of personal development.

During the opening scene, the movie tells us what happened to William S. “Bill” Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves) during last 29 years since the rapturous finale of “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” (1991). At that time, they felt like finally reaching to the top thanks to the wide public exposure of their rock band around the world, but, alas, their resulting fame turned out to be a lot shorter than expected, and they even have failed to do what they were supposedly destined to do: creating an awesome piece of music to unite the humanity across time and space.

At present, Bill and Ted are no more than struggling has-been musicians, and we get a cringe-inducing scene where they pathetically attempt to present their latest piece of music in front of many people attending the wedding of a certain close relative of theirs. Although their respective wives and daughters support them as usual, their continuing failure has certainly put lots of strain on their respective marital relationships, and that leads to an amusingly awkward scene when they attend a couple therapy session along with their wives.

When Bill and Ted return to their neighborhood alone without much success in their couple therapy session, something quite exciting happens right in front of their eyes. A visitor from the future arrives, and that person in question is Kelly (Kristen Schaal), the daughter of the character played by late George Carlin in the two previous films. Because Bill and Ted have not yet fulfilled their destiny, time and space have been quite more unstable than before, and Kelly and her direct boss notify that Bill and Ted must compose and then play that awesome piece of music before it is too late for the whole world across time and space.

Because they have to accomplish the mission within less than 80 minutes, Bill and Ted are understandably overwhelmed without any good creative idea for them, but, what do you know, there comes a flash of genius to them. An old time machine they used in the previous two films, which looks like an ordinary phone booth on the outside, happens to be available for them, and all they have to do is going to their future and then getting that piece of music in question from their future selves.

Of course, thing do not go as well for Bill and Ted as planned, and the screenplay by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon generates lots of fun as its two heroes find themselves bouncing from one time point to another. While they are aghast at seeing how their future will become gloomier during next several years, they also have to deal with the unexpected involvement of their wives, who, as many of you probably remember, are no stranger to time travel.

In addition, their daughters, Theodora “Thea” Preston (Samara Weaving) and Wilhelmina “Billie” Logan (Brigette Lundy-Paine) also get themselves involved in this increasingly complicated situation after meeting Kelly. As their fathers’ lifelong fans and cheerleaders, they are certainly ready to help their fathers by any means necessary, and they soon come to take a journey across time and space which is not so far from the one their fathers took in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Journey”.

Under the competent direction by director Dean Parisot, the movie keeps its story briskly rolling with surprise and nostalgia popping here and there. While I was often amused by a neurotic robot character hilariously played by Anthony Carrigan, I was also delighted with the return of William Saddler’s character, who steals the show just like he did in “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”.

Above all, the movie is supported well by the lasting comic chemistry between Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. While he recently reached to another peak as an action movie star thanks to the success of “John Wick” (2014) and its two equally fine sequels, Reeves can be very funny even while maintaining his rather stiff façade as usual, and he and Winter always click well together in addition to having lots of fun with several different versions of their characters throughout the story.

Besides Sadler and Carrigan, the other supporting performers in the film also gladly hurl themselves into sheer silliness as demanded by their respective roles. While Erinn Hayes and Jayma Mays are effective counterparts during their scenes with Reeves and Winter, Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine are delightfully plucky as required, and Kristen Schaal brings considerable spirit and personality to her character.

In conclusion, “Bill & Ted Face the Music” succeeds as much as intended while providing enough laughs to lift itself during its 92-minute running time, and it certainly something you cannot miss if you were entertained by its two predecessors like I was a long time ago. In short, this is a nice lightweight alternative to “Tenet” (2020), and I assure you that your mind will be far less taxed this time.

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