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Make That Tune: Bill & Ted Face The Music

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Synopsis

In high school, Bill S. Preston and Ted "Theodore" Logan had an excellent adventure as they met historical figures and formed an unlikely bond. After high school, they encountered Death, formed a bond, and met the women they'd marry. By the time they'd reached reached middle age, they still hadn't fulfilled their destiny of writing the song that would unite the world. That time must come soon in Bill & Ted Face The Music. Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) have seen most critics and fans of their band, Wyld Stallyns, turn their backs on them. Their royal-born wives, Joanna Preston (Jayma Mays) and Elizabeth Logan (Erinn Hayes) work to support their families, which puts stress on both marriages. One day, Bill and Ted get an urgent visit from Kelly (Kristen Schaal), the daughter of Rufus (George Carlin, via archive footage), the man who had foretold of the song that Bill and Ted would write. They have about 90 minutes to write and perform this piece.

They travel to the future where Rufus lived to plead for an extension with The Great Leader (Holland Taylor). She says no, as she and others witness anomalies in the space-time continuum. They get into Rufus's old phone booth, trying to find if they succeeded, and where they'd gone wrong. Meanwhile, Bill and Ted's daughters, Billie (Brigitte Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving) work with Kelly, borrowing her pod to travel through time to round up some accomplished musicians. In order to stop the anomalies, The Great Leader sends the robot Dennis Caleb McCoy (Anthony Carrigan) to kill Bill and Ted to stop the problems. A visit to their future selves gives Bill and Ted the song they are to perform, but Dennis is on a mission, and the men need to reconcile with their now-former bandmate, Death (William Sadler) to fulfill their destiny.

Evaluation

Bill & Ted Face The Music is about as necessary a sequel as any Star Wars movie made after Return Of The Jedi. Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, in fact, introduces viewers to "Little Bill and Little Ted," which may lead some to see either an instant inconsistency or an attitude of open-mindedness. Since I still enjoyed the film, I opt for the latter. The script for this movie comes from Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, who also wrote the first two entries in the franchise. Bill and Ted essentially remain the same duo - they rock first, and do almost everything else second. Thoughts come, but not as quickly as they should. The script, though, doesn't utilize the characters to better effect, especially the returning support players. For example, viewers learn that Ted's father, Jonathan (Hal Landon, Jr.) is still on the police force. The oft-married Missy (Amy Stoch) is now married to Ted's little brother, Deacon (Beck Bennett), who now works under his police chief father. It's nice to know where they are now, but not much more gets said about them. The direction comes from Dean Parisot, who works mostly on TV, and whose previous theatrical effort occurred with the 2013 sequel Red 2.

Reeves and Winter haven't missed a step as the title characters. even after nearly three decades. They get a glimpse of their older selves as well as alternate selves as they desperately try and find their creative muse. I especially like the post-credit sequence as the lifelong friends jam. Weaving, who impressed in the mediocre 2019 film Ready Or Not, and Lundy-Paine make the best of their screen time. They are more like their fathers than their mothers. Billie, in fact, fashions her hair after her father. The daughters have the same passion for music their fathers do. They clearly love their dads, as they time travel themselves and know who they want to join their dads in concert, even if the movie never makes clear how the musicians' widely varied talents will mesh. Carrigan amuses as an emotional cyborg, and Jillian Bell is good as Dr. Wood, a marriage counselor for the Prestons and Logans who gets a hint of the strange things occurring that are not related to her patients. Musical cameos come from Dave Grohl and Weird Al Yankovic, while rapper Kid Cudi helps the band and tries to make sense of the events happening in real time.

Conclusion

Bill & Ted Face The Music misses some comic possibilities, but still manages to capture the essence of the main characters. They have devoted their lives to making that world-changing song, and wondering when they will hit the right notes. The movie plays like a musical edition of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, but now they have to star in history's most important party with a song that will have a long-expected impact. The world depends on them.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Bill & Ted Face The Music three stars. Not excellent or bogus, but still fun.

Bill & Ted Face The Music trailer

© 2020 Pat Mills