My dear readers, I feel like you and I have reached a certain comfort level with one another. By now, you’ve probably figured out that I’m lovably quirky and slightly mischievous, kinda like if you adopted a koala bear and set it loose in your house. (Can just anybody get one of those things? Or, do you have to be…koala-fied?) Anyway, now that we’ve climbed the Trust Tree together, I feel I can share with you: I’ve always loved the Bill and Ted’s movies. They’re both like daffy riffs on Drunk History with a Wayne’s World twist. So, when somebody somewhere said they were cranking out another one, well…I was instantly onboard. Now that I’ve laid bare this, my darkest of secrets, you may forge ahead with the review.
It’s been nearly thirty years since messieurs Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu) and Bill S. Preston, Esq (Alex Winter) have been called upon to save the–wait, thirty years?? Sweet Jesus in a bean field, no wonder my shoulder aches when it’s about to rain! I’m older than topsoil. So, what was I saying…? Oh, yeah–the thing with the guys in it: It seems our favorite mouth-breathing metal-heads have fallen short in their quest to imbue the world with peace and harmony through song. Their band, Wyld Stallyns, flamed out on the charts and suffered a swan dive into oblivion worthy of Spinal Tap.
To make matters worse, Bill and Ted’s most excellent babes have grown tired of playing second fiddle to their hubbies’ flailing careers. This leads Jo (Jayma Mays) and Elizabeth (Erinn Hays) to pursue counseling and possible separation from the guys. No way! And if all this bummer info wasn’t bad enough, an emissary from the future (Kristen Schaal) arrives to tell them they have to write their fabled song, or else space and time will shred faster than a Van Halen solo. So, the boys grab their famous phone booth and go looking for the completed song somewhere in the future. Meanwhile, their music-loving daughters, Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine), get wind of the impending calamity and head into the past, in search of the ultimate backing band.
This all probably sounds kinda stupid. And it is–deliriously stupid, in fact. The Bill and Ted saga has always been about guileless, giddy, pea-brained fun. This third installment picks up that baton and runs off with it, like Forrest Gump with a football.
In fact, much of this film’s humor has a similar feel to Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, which slipped a few esoteric references into its overall gibberish. Franchise aficionados–and don’t kid yourself, they’re out there–remember that Bogus Journey featured the boys getting sent to Hell. Down in the depths, they encountered a wacky incarnation of Death (William Sadler), who challenged Bill and Ted to a board game tournament for their very souls. Film buffs will instantly spot the spoof of Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal, wherein Max von Sydow’s knight plays chess against the Grim Reaper.
Of course, Bill and Ted‘s Death speaks with a half-German, half-Martian accent (“Yooo haff sunk mahh battle sheep!!!”), and throws tantrums like a bratty loser. Sadler’s goofy performance stole that second movie, and he makes a hilarious return for this final installment. Seriously, his fall-out with the Wyld Stallyns and what he’s been doing since are absolute gold.
Sadler’s clearly having a ball reprising this dimwitted character. So are Reeves and Winter, who excel at playing Bill and Ted as middle-aged burn-outs. Writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson, series regulars since the first installment, provide the just the right vibe of shambling dopiness. Its plot may not handle a whole lot of scrutiny, but if you watch a movie like this to nitpick it…well, that’s just like, totally weird, dude. As for me, I’ll feel safe in saying that this movie made me laugh out loud more than once. No way? Yes. Way.
92 minutes. PG-13.