It’s tough to think of many other movies that are more cheerful than this one — it’s a movie where it’s easy to have a smile on your face during literally the entire duration without really realizing it.
The key to the movie’s success is making Bill and Ted so good spirited and kind hearted to each other and to all of the people they encounter. You’re always rooting for them. They’re dopey losers, but immensely sweet and at least a little self-aware. Their sense of fraternity is even a little bit inspiring. Giving Bill and Ted a bit of an arc and emotional throughline makes the comic beats land even stronger.
The sci-fi story zips around at a perfect pace, brisk but not rushed. Visiting each of the historical time periods and letting each of historical figures develop a comic persona never gets old. (The scene where they meet Socrates — “dust, wind, dude” — never fails to make me laugh. And I would’ve watched another 10 minutes — at least — of mall mayhem.)
Just when it seems like the anachronism jokes might be starting to get repetitive in the third act, the movie pivots to a bunch of equally hilarious gags making fun of time travel.
It’s all so charming and lightweight and easy to watch. Not every joke lands (I’ve never understood the film’s dedication to the hot stepmom runner), but more than enough do for this to rank among my favorite sci-fi comedies.
- Review Project: 2009 Top 100
Very Good (6/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.