REVIEW: BILL AND TED FACE THE MUSIC is an enjoyable nostalgia-driven comedy swan-song for the iconic 80s duo.


Writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson, along with director Dean Parisot, close out the big-screen trilogy 30 years in the making with a fun film that examines the ties that bind in love and friendship in this humourous finale with plenty of nostalgia for long time fans.

It’s been over thirty years since we first met fun-loving rockers Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) and his air-guitar strumming compadre Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves), collectively known as the Wyld Stallyns, in the 1989 cult comedy classic Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The pair made traveling across time and space in a phone booth cool years before Doctor Who revitalized those concepts for a new generation in the 2000’s BBC revival as they partied with the personification of Death himself (William Sadler) in Hell in 1991’s Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Bill and Ted Face The Music picks up directly where Bogus Journey left off, as Bill and Ted’s hit song “Those Who Rock” ultimately didn’t end up being the song that brought the world into harmony. The harder Bill and Ted try to write the vaunted song that Rufus (George Carlin) assured them they were destined to write, the more they suffer from diminishing returns and the band becomes less and less popular over the next 25 years. Now in middle age, the pair wonder if they should hang it up after Ted is offered $6400 for his Les Paul and the two find themselves in marriage counseling trying to keep their marriages with Joanna (Glee’s Jayma Mays) and Elizabeth (Childrens Hospital’s Erinn Hayes) from flaming out. As the duo wonders what to do, they are visited by Rufus’ daughter Kelly (Kristen Schaal), who whisks them to San Dimas in 2720, where they’re informed by the new Great Leader (Holland Taylor) that reality and time are about to spin off their axis, unless the two perform the song that will save reality and create universal harmony in the next 75 minutes. Meanwhile, Ted’s daughter Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Bill’s daughter Thea (Samara Weaving), decide to help their dads unite humanity by building them a band made up of some of history’s greatest musicians and the musicians who inspired them to make an all-time supergroup to help Bill and Ted save reality as we know it.

Solomon and Matheson, who’ve written every installment of Bill and Ted’s ongoing adventures, populate the film with Easter eggs for long time fans and some inspired casting choices to really pique the audiences’ sense of nostalgia. But the movie largely works because of the enthusiasm and charisma Reeves and Winter radiate onscreen as the reunited Bill and Ted. There’s a very real and permeable sense of camaraderie the two project whenever they’re on screen together and it brings you into the surreal circumstances the two find themselves throughout the film. It’s kind of a blast seeing Keanu Reeves as the well-meaning, sometimes bumbling and, at times, insecure Ted after nearly a decade of seeing him as an unstoppable killing machine in the John Wick film series. Reeves has great and understated comedic chops and he flexes them throughout the film with great aplomb alongside Winter’s Bill, who gets some of the film’s best jokes and setpieces. Similarly, Lundy-Paine does an amazing job channeling Reeves’ Ted performance from the original film in their performances as Ted’s daughter, Billie. Weaving, who we know has awesome comedic timing from her roles in films like The Babysitter, Guns Akimbo, and Ready or Not, largely plays the straight man as Bill’s daughter Thea. The duo plays off of each other well throughout and their easy charisma makes their storyline in the film that much more entertaining, even if it does heavily borrow beats from earlier films in the series.

If there are some negatives in the film’s execution, it does tend to come largely in terms of pacing and the film hitting some beats early on that yield largely predictable payoffs. Jayma Mays and Erinn Hayes’ roles as the princesses feel like they could’ve been enhanced a lot by the two actresses’ comedic chops and Mays’ great facial expressions do add some dimension to her Joanna, but the two are largely relegated to a subplot to Bill and Ted’s larger journey without much dialogue. The movie flows well and keeps you with it throughout its somewhat breakneck pace, but doesn’t really breathe the way Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure did. Part of that is largely by design, but there’s also a lot of story here and it feels a bit crammed at times. That being said, the performances throughout the film are uniformly great, with lots of laugh-out-loud moments from well-executed cameos and smaller roles that do hearken back to the spirit of the original, while providing new characters and storylines for fans old and new to get behind. You can see the film’s budget on screen, with terrific practical make-up effects and great production and costume design throughout as well. You can feel the care and love the people involved had for the film and that is a great factor in why it draws you in.

Overall, Bill and Ted Face The Music is a fun ride and the rare return to a franchise that feels like you’re checking in on these characters at a later point in their lives that feels like it has a point in doing so. The franchise introduces new co-leads in Billie and Thea that don’t feel wedged into the film and Weaving and Lundy-Paine are great in their roles and feel like they earned the baton. The film also gives us a nice sense of closure on this universe, plus provides great laughs throughout in doing so. Bill and Ted Face The Music is not a bogus journey by any means.