Bill & Ted Face the Music (3 stars)

Bill & Ted Face the Music

The dudes return for the long-awaited third instalment in the sci-fi comedy series

As the desire to bury our collective heads in the sand returns what could be more fitting than a feel-good blast from times past, with Bill S Preston Esquire and Ted 'Theodore' Logan returning to rock out and fulfil their elusive destiny. Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest, Red 2) directs, while franchise creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon and stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves bring the beloved metalheads into the present day and beyond.

It turns out that Bill and Ted's world-uniting song failed to materialise and, with their band Wyld Stallyns struggling to stay relevant, the very survival of the human race is in jeopardy. Time has begun to fold in on itself, flinging historical figures here, there and everywhere. Amid all the madness, the daughter of Bill and Ted's time-travelling guide Rufus (played by Kristen Schaal, replacing George Carlin who died in 2008) arrives from the year 2720 to give the boys a hurry up with what desperately needs to be a musical masterpiece.

Instead, the pair find themselves being pursued by incompetent killer robot Dennis Caleb McCoy (Anthony Carrigan), as they try to steal the song in question from various unhelpful versions of their future selves. Meanwhile, their 24-year-old daughters Billie and Thea (played by Atypical's Brigette Lundy-Paine and Ready or Not's Samara Weaving) get to work assembling a historical supergroup.

Bill & Ted Face the Music finds the dim-witted duo as affable as ever, though the filmmakers have stretched the same essential premise a touch too far now and the explanations offered can be barely coherent, even by the series' own standards. However, this latest adventure freshens things up by getting with the feminist programme (no mean feat considering that the original films rarely referred to women as anything other than 'babes'). If Bill and Ted's muso mini-me offspring bring a bit of youthful pep to the party, the reunion with William Sadler's wonderful Death lives up to expectations too, and the ridiculous interactions with their Terminator-style cyborg pursuer are a highlight.

Given its pertinent agenda to heal a divided world, Bill & Ted Face the Music doesn't attempt much in the way of satire. Instead, it focuses firmly on broad-strokes peril and bonding, heavy doses of nostalgia and family friendly fun. Convoluted time travel shenanigans aside, it's a film that's as simple, and sweet, as its heroes.

Available to watch in cinemas from Wed 16 Sep.

Bill & Ted Face the Music

  • 3 stars
  • 2020
  • US
  • 1h 18min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Dean Parisot
  • Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Anthony Carrigan, Kid Cudi, Jillian Bell
  • UK release: 16 September 2020

The third movie in the Bill and Ted series is currently in development. Alex Winter, who played Ted, has stated that the film will be about the pair as grown-ups and will not simply be a reboot of the original.