Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020)

Yet another year, yet another legacy sequel from a movie franchise that we all thought was dead for so many years. It’s a cynical approach but so many of these decades later sequels have stunk—which is probably why it’s shocking to see that “Bill and Ted Face the Music” doesn’t actually suck. In all fairness while it’s not a laugh riot, I appreciated its genuine message about love, the power of music, and appreciating what we have while we have it.

Bill and Ted are still very best buddies that spent a short time in the lime light as the Wild Stallyns and inevitably crashed and burned. Now playing relatives’ weddings, they’re anxiously trying to create the song that will unite the universe, but have yet to find out how. Meanwhile they’re forced to go in to couples therapy with their wives, all the while being confronted with the daughter of their friend Rufus, who gives them only a few hours to create their song. As they look for a way to finish the song, their daughters Theadora and Wilhemina travel through time assembling their own band of legendary musicians in hopes of helping their dads.

“Bill and Ted Face the Music” is surprisingly a somber affair that, while occasionally funny, is mostly a movie about Bill and Ted trying to find a way to fulfill their purpose. They had this idea of what they wanted to accomplish as kids and now have to face that they just couldn’t live up to their goals. This troubles their personal life as their wives are anxious to maintain their relationships and perhaps help them find perspective that they aren’t complete failures. “Face the Music” surprisingly a joyous celebration of the feminine spirit. It’s a subtle exploration on how resilient women can be through almost anything. Rufus’ daughter (the always excellent Kristen Schaal) is a consistent force of good helping Bill, Ted, and their family, while their daughters basically steal the movie.

Although similar to their dads, Wilhemina and Theadora are unique and fascinating heroines that manage carry so much of their fathers enthusiasm. Thankfully, the characters aren’t parodies of their dads, and what keeps them so empathetic is their unconditional love for their dads, and how much they’re willing to risk to help them fulfill their destinies. “Face the Music” wonderfully subverts the “embarrassed child” trope featuring children of our protagonists that are refreshingly supportive, not to mention heroines in their own right who are motivated by the love. Kudos to Samara Weaving and Brigitte Lundy-Paine who make their performances look effortless.

“Bill and Ted Face the Music” isn’t perfect as a lot of the comedic asides are kind of flat. I also thought Holland Taylor’s antagonist was kind of lazy. That said, it’s a humble, insightful, and refreshing sequel that gives the “Bill and Ted” mythos a great resolution.