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“Bill & Ted Face The Music” In This Long-Gestating Sequel

Long in the making sequels have been having a bit of a moment in Hollywood over the last handful of years. Properties long since thought dormant have come back to life, sometimes to great success. Now, Bill & Ted Face the Music hopes to be the latest IP to do so, with this newest effort nearly 30 years after Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (not to mention over three decades since the initial outing in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure). The franchise always leaned on creativity, but that’s in short supply here. This likely conclusion to the misadventures of the title character best friends is fan service and fan service alone, but everyone seems to know that the joke has more than worn thin. Hitting screens today, it’s a huge disappointment.

The movie is the second sequel and third installment in the Bill & Ted series. Once upon a time, William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. and Theodore “Ted” Logan were San Dimas teenagers who ended up in a time-traveling adventure that also resulted in the knowledge that they’d save the universe through music. Now middled-aged and dads, Bill and Ted are still looking for that hit song, much to the consternation of their wives Elizabeth (Erinn Hayes) and Joanna (Jayma Mays). While the spouses are getting frustrated, Bill and Ted’s daughters Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving) worship them. In fact, when Kelly (Kristen Schaal) arrives from the future for the boys, resulting in them being told they have to make that hit now. As they try and teal the song from future versions of themselves, Billie and Thea head to the past, trying to put together a legendary band to help their dads. It all comes together in an adventure that combines both old friends and new. Dean Parisot directs a screenplay by franchise stalwarts Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon., with cinematography from Shelly Johnson. Mark Isham composes the score. Supporting players include Jillian Bell, Beck Bennett, Hal Landon Jr., William Sadler, and more.

Unfortunately, this is a film that I can’t be excellent towards. Bland, unnecessary, and tired, it just has no reason to exist. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winters do seem to be having a good time, but the feeling is far from mutual. While there’s a momentary jolt or at least a smile in seeing Reeves and Winters slip back into these old characters, they’re so thin that it comes and goes quite quickly. Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving fare a bit better as their kids, but the daughters aren’t given nearly enough to do, with Weaving especially being a talented actress who’s wasted here.

Bill & Ted Face the Music is a slog from start to finish. The franchise already had diminishing returns before this, but what he have on display here is full proof that a trilogy was not necessary. The concept has more than run out of steam. Writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon don’t get the same hit rate on their material, while it’s a hugely disappointing effort from director Dean Parisot, who showed how much better he is than this with Galaxy Quest. Whether it’s the case or not, Parisot, along with Matheson and Solomon, appear just as bored as the audience.

Now playing, Bill & Ted Face the Music is made exclusively for hardcore fans of the series. Unless you’re thrilled with everything Bill and Ted have done in the past (no pun intended), you’re likely to be underwhelmed here. It just isn’t funny enough and isn’t clever enough, despite the largely positive vibes of the production. In the end, it’s just not nearly enough.

Bill & Ted Face the Music is in theaters and On Demand now.

(Photos courtesy of Orion Pictures)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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