As a general rule, comedy sequels are almost never worth your time because all the A-material got used up in the original. Third installments of a comedy trilogy tend to be a raging garbage fire. ("Hangover 3" anyone? I thought not.) And third installments of a comedy trilogy that land 29 years after the second movie are a holocaust of wrong that should be shut down by Amnesty International.
I'm happy to say that like 1991's "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," the new one "Face the Music" that just became available on Amazon is another rare exception. Filmed to be released to theaters, it's another major movie to go straight to streaming, and it costs $20 just to rent. At no time did I feel I wasn't getting my 20 bucks worth.
I'll keep this as spoiler-free as possible. But as you can tell from the trailer, the premise is that "Ted" Theodore Logan and William S. Preston Esq. are middle aged guys, married to the princesses they took back from the Middle Ages in "Excellent Adventure" and have daughters that they named after one another. The conceit here is that their band Wyld Stallyn has never really worked out. The song George Carlin's Rufus told them they'd write that would unite the world and create a utopia on Earth never materialized. And now they're running out of time. If they can't pull the song out of their asses, all reality will cease to exist. I kid you not. Those are the stakes.
There's just so much to like here. The time travel they did to find historical figures and bring them to San Dimas in "Excellent Adventure" gets turned into a journey to collect great musicians from the past. Ted's dad is still a domineering asshole. The Mr. Death they beat at Twister and Battleship to get their lives back in "Bogus Journey" returns, played again by William Sadler from "Shawshank." And steals "Face the Music" as much as he did that one, doing a riff on the cliche of every musician who lets fame get to his head. For real, every line in his scenes is gold and he deserves the Oscar nomination they never give to comedy performances but should. There's also a robot played by Anthony Carrigan, the guy who plays the Chechen mobster from "Barry" who gets better with every scene he's in.
Time travel is always a problematic plot device and there are people who exist only to poke holes in it and find paradoxes any time it's used. In this movie, it doesn't matter. And any time it feels like it doesn't make sense, Kid Cudi shows up as himself deus ex machina to lecture everyone about quantum physics and universal wave functions and such. It's a brilliant device to shut up the science nerds and for all I know every word is accurate.
More than anything, and I'm totally serious about this, the movie ends up being about love. Love these two friends have for each other. To the point they share the same thoughts, even through all the different iterations of each other they meet in parallel timelines. Love of world music, which is a huge part of the through line of this. And honestly, the obvious love Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter have for these characters. Reeves is one of the five or 10 biggest, most bankable movie stars alive. But you can tell "Bill & Ted" films still matter to him. That he doesn't need the money, but he does need to revisit this franchise. And it shows in the care that went into making this one.
So this is a big yes from me. And if you're the kind of person who needs to care about such things, it's a PG-13 but totally kid friendly. Like the others, they go out of their way to not have a word harsher than calling someone a "dick."
OK Boomer Grade: A.