While we were doing whatever we were doing since Bill S. Preston, Esquire, and Ted “Theodore” Logan destroyed Death in a Twister match, Deacon has done a thing that is actually predictable, if you really think about it: He is in a relationship with Missy, the high school “it” girl who later became the Logan boys’ stepmother.
And if that makes any sense to you, you’ve come to the right place.
“Bill & Ted Face the Music,” the long-awaited (for some) third movie from the Keanu Reeves-Alex Winter, time-traveling, rock ’n’ roll series opens with Deacon and Missy’s wedding. Welfare check on Ted’s father, a San Dimas police captain well beyond retirement age: he shrivels, alone and weepy, at the ceremony starring his ex-wife and youngest son.
At this point in history, Bill and Ted, like us, are middle-aged — both the droopy dad of a teen-aged daughter with a solid ear for music. The princesses, whom the boys met when they hopped to the Middle Ages and later married, have both become rankled that when their partner should be saying “I love you,” he is saying something more like “we love you guys.”
Bill and Ted’s band, Wyld Stallyns — now-playing-the-VFW-circuit-years-old — is not quite the world super power that futuristic life coach Rufus had predicted in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
This is the problem at the crux of the film by seasoned B&T writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon and directed by Dean Parisot.
They still haven’t written the song to unite the world and, honestly, it doesn’t seem like they are getting closer. It’s taking a toll on time and space. Historical figures are falling through gaps and landing in modern time — and not in a good way, like when, say, Napoleon destroyed the over-sized ice cream treat and earned a Ziggy Piggy button.
Rufus, played in both “Excellent Adventure” and “Bogus Journey” by the late George Carlin, is replaced by his daughter Kelly (Kristen Schaal). She brings a doomsday message, circa her tyrant mother, to the Wyld Stallyns: They have until 7:17 p.m. to write the song. Meanwhile, her mother has unleashed a killer robot who, like Death, is ultimately humanized for some of the movie’s best jokes.
The plot of this one is dizzying. Don't think about it too hard. Just let it happen.
Bill and Ted travel through time and find increasingly grim and hostile versions of themselves. Their daughters, Billie and Theadora, are on an adjacent mission, collecting great figures from music history to be in the band. One superlative of the movie is Billie, played by Bridgette Lundy-Paine, whose loose-limbs, surfer syntax and floppy hair are so reminiscent of Keanu Reeves, ’89. One bummer is that these historical figures, including Mozart, Louis Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix, don't get a moment to shine like the historical figures from the original film who had the run of the San Dimas mall.
This movie is a gift to “Bill & Ted” fans, likely humans who were paying attention during a relatively small window of time. Likewise, it’ll be a jolt for anyone who uses celebrities to measure life's passage. “Bill & Ted Face the Music” is bare-bones phone booth fan fiction, teeming with inside jokes that reward the sort of person who might have, (cough cough), collected cereal box tops to earn a Bill & Ted T-shirt.
It’s available for theater prices on VOD — which ultimately feels like catching up with old friends the way we do that now: virtually.
Christa Lawler is a features reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. She is @DNTAnE on Twitter.