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It's Hard Not to Like Bill & Ted

There's a 'sneaky amiability' to this silly sequel, says one critic
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2020 9:41 AM CDT

(Newser) Bill & Ted Face the Music might not be an excellent adventure, but it's up there. Critics give the reunion of stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter (and original writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon) an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In this sequel from director Dean Parisot, middle-aged Bill and Ted have yet to produce the song that is to unite humanity, so they travel to the future to steal it from themselves. Four takes:

  • For Brian Lowry, it's "another adventure in nostalgia that nobody really needed and yet, if not excellent, manages to be good-hearted and reasonably fun." The premise is "a bit tired," even with the addition of two teenage daughters (Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine), Lowry writes at CNN. "But the sheer silliness of the exercise, and its lack of pretensions, works in its favor."
  • It starts out a bit rocky with "a surprising stiffness" between Bill and Ted, according to Linda Holmes at NPR. "Winter seems more at ease … than does Reeves," she writes. But "by the third act, it feels like an entirely worthy follow-up" and is "ultimately enjoyable." The film, like its predecessors, "has a sneaky amiability that sort of sidles up to you like a golden retriever and somehow persuades you to hand over your sandwich."

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  • Bill and Ted set out to find the song, encountering various versions of themselves, while their daughters set out to pull together a backing band. But only when these storylines converge, an hour in, does the film find its rhythm—"which means that this 88-minute movie is basically over before it really begins," writes Katie Rife at AV Club. On the bright side, Lundy-Paine has time to shine, as does William Sadler, who resumes his role as Death.
  • Kid Cudi, as himself, is also great, according to Brian Tallerico, who gives the film three stars out of four. This long-awaited sequel is "essentially all it needed to be"—"a remarkably likable comedy" that "doesn't betray its beloved characters, and it doesn't merely repeat what people loved about them in the first place," Tallerico writes at RogerEbert.com. "It's clearly a labor of love."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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