Bill & Ted Face the Music

NEW YORK (CNS) — Remember Bill & Ted? Way back in 1989, they had an “Excellent Adventure” while two years later they experienced a “Bogus Journey.”

Nearly three decades on from that second teen outing, the two amiable, time-traveling knuckleheads — played, as ever, by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves — return for “Bill & Ted Face the Music” (Orion/United Artists). In doing so they demonstrate, if nothing else, that being middle aged (if not yet mature exactly) hasn’t slowed them down much.

Growing older can leave us with unrealized ambitions, however, and so it has proved for Bill and Ted. The pals are frustrated by their ongoing inability to fulfill a prophecy that they would someday write a song that would unite the world. But the stakes involved in their failure to do so are drastically increased when they learn that, unless they complete the ditty before a looming deadline, all time and space will collapse.


So the race is on to save the universe. While Bill and Ted go off to the future in search of a version of themselves who already have the tune in hand, their dead-ringer daughters Theodora (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) go backward in time to provide them with a dream band of famous musicians.

Director Dean Parisot’s sci-fi comedy will likely draw smiles and chuckles, if not belly laughs. And its promotion of lasting friendship, familial cooperation and global solidarity is obviously in harmony with Biblical values.

On the other hand, movie fans of faith may not be pleased to see that Jesus figures momentarily among the jumble of historical figures who get thrown into the humorous mix. The treatment of him is not as deferential as might be wished, though, it’s more absurd than disrespectful.

He is seen, for instance, walking on the water beside George Caleb Bingham’s famous image of George Washington crossing the Delaware. That may be in dubious taste, but at least it’s clever.

For the rest, only the occasional use of a vulgar insult really marks this as grown-up material. So many parents may decide that its an acceptable choice for mature adolescents.

The film contains brief vaguely irreverent humor, a couple of mild oaths and a few crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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