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  Bill & Ted Face the Music Air Guitar Will Save The World
Year: 2020
Director: Dean Parisot
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, William Sadler, Anthony Carrigan, Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mays, Hal Landon Jr, Beck Bennett, Kid Cudi, Amy Stoch, Holland Taylor, Jillian Bell, Dave Grohl, Daniel Dorr
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) saved the world with a song... or that was the idea, but it does not seem to have worked out that way. Their meddling with time travel was supposed to provide a piece of music that would unite the world and place all the planets in alignment, yet while they were popular for a while, that was years ago and now they are reduced to playing bars to tens of people. The song is nowhere to be heard. And this has had serious repercussions, as they have never left San Dimas and that is the focal point for all sorts of issues with time that would have been solved had Bill and Ted just gotten their act together. Apocalypse awaits...

It was a tricky proposition, a third Bill & Ted movie so long after the middle instalment back in 1991, when both stars should by all rights have aged out of their roles: what happens after "they all lived happily ever after", anyway? That they released this finished product in the middle of a pandemic was another reason nobody much felt like laughing, and sure enough there was plenty of grumbling about this stupid movie with its stupid jokes and stupid music and stupid diversity (because that last is the thing that infuriates certain folks the worst in the twenty-first century). But was it so bad? For a movie made for the fans, patently on a limited budget and with a lot of love: no, it was not.

Certainly, it was an inessential entertainment, and you would get little out of it had you not been won over by the characters in the past. But for the diehards, it was simply winning to see them again, and know that while life had not been kind to them, they remained best friends to the end, and besides if you did not laugh at the opening wedding scene where it is pointed out Ted's longsuffering father (Hal Landon Jr) is now his own son, then you would be advised to bail out early. That was the level of the humour, deeply silly, but strangely uplifting if you wanted to see two - let's face it - losers suddenly reacquiring their purpose in life now they had reached their middle-aged selves.

After all, you have to be extremely fortunate in the twenty-twenties to feel as if you had seized all your opportunities and had your life turn out just dandy, and the suspicion was that failed Bill & Ted spoke to more viewers than were willing to admit. Pleasingly, Reeves and Winter picked up from where they left off, only Ted was that bit more disappointed in his existence, with Bill carrying them on as musicians well past the point anyone was interested. They were fathers to Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine), who had evidently picked up their dads' mannerisms and early years optimism, but sadly also their slacker lack of get up and go when it came to achieving anything significant. Our heroes were meant to have saved the Universe, but that, as with many a youthful dream, proved easier said than done.

Just as things are looking bleak - and this was surprisingly unsentimental about failure - the daughter of their previous mentor Rufus appears, Kelly (Kristen Schaal) with another time machine to take them to the future and write the flippin' song at last, though we know and they know in their heart of hearts that ain't gonna happen. The sense that your problems don't necessarily diminish as you get older, they merely get pushed away as more join them, was in every scene: the boys' marriages to the Princesses are heading towards divorce if they're not careful, and leaping around time in that phone box isn't going to solve this, it overcomplicates it instead. Thea and Billie collect musicians from history to assist in the song, but if the happy ending were not so well-telegraphed there would be a fatalism about Face the Music that would be hard to take. Yes, it was the third best in the series, but there were some good laughs, a spirit of "we're all in this together" that was carried from the original, and some nice, daft character work from the likes of William Sadler (back as Death) and Anthony Carrigan (as the killer robot). You'd have to really nurse your wrath not to enjoy at least some of it. Music by Mark Isham.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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