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SYFY WIRE review roundup

Does 'Bill & Ted Face the Music' hit the right notes? Critics say threequel is light, but still excellent

By Nivea Serrao
Bill and Ted Face the Music

Time travelling to the future the "old fashioned way" means it's been a long wait for fans — almost 30 years — waiting to see a certain history-hopping duo return to their screens. Well, that time has finally come, with Bill & Ted Face the Music beaming down onto video on demand in the U.S., and select theaters nationwide, after its release was both pre- and postponed due to the ongoing global pandemic.  

The movie sees real-life pals Alex Winter (The Lost Boys) and Keanu Reeves (The Matrix) once again reunite to play Bill & Ted, nearly three decades after their previous two outings as the characters in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure in 1989 and Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey in 1991. Only this time, the best friends are transported to the future where they're tasked with writing a song that will save the world, so they do what they do best, and hop in their time-travelling phone booth, and go in search of some historical helpers — as well as their future selves! These shenanigans also involve their teenage daughters, Billie and Thea, played by Ready or Not's Samara Weaving, and Atypical's Brigette Lundy-Paine.

According to reviews, despite middle age having come for them (along with some marital issues), Bill and Ted (Winter and Reeves, respectively) haven't lost their spark, still maintaining the easy chemistry that made the first film such a cult classic. And while the plot — which is written by original Excellent Adventure scribes Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon — doesn't quite work for everyone in terms of substance and execution, almost everyone agrees that the film still bears the hallmarks of what captured fans' hearts in the first place. 

The best time to be is now, so check out what critics had to say below:

"Thanks to the original screenwriters Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson, the formula in Bill & Ted Face the Music is pretty much the same and the laugh-out-loud silliness involved with these perpetual time travelers is blessedly intact." — Pete Hammond, Deadline 

"The film is weightless and super-goofy — a blissed-out air balloon of nostalgia. It zips right along, it makes you smile and chortle, it’s a surprisingly sweet-spirited love story (about Bill and Ted trying to live up to their marriages — though the real love story is, of course, the one that takes place between the two of them), and it’s a better tribute to the one-world utopian power of classic rock than “Yesterday” was. On a scale of one to 10, I wouldn’t say that “Face the Music” goes to 11, but it’s a most excellent sequel." — Owen Gleiberman, Variety

"Comedy sequels are tough and only get tougher with more time passing. Thankfully, director Dean Parisot and screenwriters Chris Matheson & Ed Solomon turn this time gap to their advantage with the delightful and charming trilogy capper Bill & Ted Face the Music. The new sequel retains the sweetness and silliness of the originals, while embracing the fact that it’s been a few decades since we last saw these characters. Face the Music is probably the last Bill & Ted movie we’ll get, and it makes the trilogy most triumphant." Matt Goldberg, Collider

"No mere exercise in Gen X nostalgia, Bill & Ted Face the Music manages to recapture both the spirit and energy of the earlier films while still acknowledging the clear passage of time... Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves still have the same doofy chemistry they had decades ago, not missing a beat from their first scene to immediately recapture what made them such a fun screen pairing. If Winter and Reeves didn’t click all these years later then Bill & Ted Face the Music would be dead on arrival but, thankfully, they still have infectious chemistry together." — Jim Vejvoda, IGN 

"Director Dean Parisot (Red 2Galaxy Quest) manages to more or less corral this clown car for the next 90 minutes, though even that runtime can feel like a stretch. Mostly, the joy comes from watching Reeves and Winter on screen, two holy fools just doing their best to bring light and love and non-heinous riffs — and remind the bleary-eyed citizens of 2020, perhaps, of a simpler, sweeter world gone by." — Leah Greenblatt, EntertainmentWeekly

"Dean Parisot's Bill & Ted Face the Music is almost exactly as good as its two big-screen predecessors — make of that statement what you will — while cleaning up some, but not all, of the things that might make an old fan of those films cringe today. Despite a dicey opening, the pic should please those looking forward to it, and, with the addition of a new generation (the duo's daughters), attract a new fan or two as well." — John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

"The Bill & Ted movies derive much of their humor from the blending of extremely low and extremely high stakes. Face The Music kind of blows it on the former: For all the preaching about the importance of togetherness and unity, the film mostly keeps its fiftysomething stars and their kids apart. Which is a shame, as the younger Logan and Preston are a hoot—particularly Lundy-Paine, who replicates Reeves’ dopey facial expressions and burnout inflection with precision. And while the high stakes couldn’t be higher, the film simply takes too long to find its focus. It’s not the most excellent of outcomes, but not a total bummer, either." — Katie Rife, AV Club

Bill & Ted Face the Music is available now to view on video on demand, and in select theaters.