The phrase “Beavis and Butthead are back” would normally scare me. The show is so ingrained in the ’90s and that whole era, that subsequent returns have felt hamfisted and forced. Paramount backs up a Brinks truck to Mike Judge’s house to try to regain the glory years, but it never gets off the ground. Somehow, (through smart writing and recognizing what the soul of Beavis and Butthead is) Beavis and Butthead: Do The Universe works. It absolutely works on so many levels.
The sheer brilliance of just saying “yeah, no one cares about a legacy sequel” and throwing the recent trend to the wind, is a stroke of genius. Do you know how they bring back Beavis and Butthead? They just take the characters from 1998 and put them into our time period. Instead of making plenty of jokes about how Beavis and Butthead are antiquated and trying to shoehorn cheap laughs, the laughs come naturally.
It’s never shown better than when Beavis and Butthead see a smartphone for the first time. They think it’s a tiny TV in their hands and that the foreign family in front of them “sucks”. In so many ways how legacy or requel sequels work, Beavis and Butthead: Do The Universe just does its own thing. They don’t follow rules, they don’t do the traditional thing, and it works so well. Think back to what made Beavis and Butthead and Beavis and Butthead: Do America such cherished animated projects. It starts with subtle commentary and comes all the way back to jokes about rockets entering things.
Beavis And Butthead: Do The Universe Is Gutbusting
This is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while. Even those that don’t really enjoy the “juvenile” humor of Beavis and Butthead will get a kick out of this one. In an age where everything needs to be either super safe or super risque from a comedic standpoint, this film achieves the goal by using the word “fartknocker”. It’s not PC, but it’s not trying to use edgy comedy to shock and awe. It’s a strange thing to behold in 2022 because the humor is just ripped straight from 1998.
Like the story, where Beavis and Butthead somehow become astronauts in the quest to score. From the opening scene with a science fair that Beavis and Butthead are blissfully unaware of, it captures the feeling of your youth watching the show. Those that might have watched the show that now has kids, can get the exact same level of humor out of this.
Once the element of this universe’s Beavis and Butthead having to save the cosmos is set, the story is off. Without spoiling anything huge, a different universe’s Beavis and Butthead (the smartest ones, who use big words and a fancy vocabulary to hilarious effect) come to our universe to help repair a rip in time and space. Beavis and Butthead have to go to a portal and step through back to their own time before it’s too late.
Naturally, they take their sweet time, try to score with chicks, and evade capture from government agencies that want to kill them or test them, or both. The story is thin, but it doesn’t really need to be globe-trotting and expansive. You’re not watching this movie for groundbreaking science-fiction.
A Strong Voice Cast And Script Take It To A New Level
Mike Judge does the voices for both Beavis and Butthead again. There are slight changes you can hear in their voices due to this being 24 years after the original series, but that doesn’t really detract anything from the movie. Joining Judge are some of his regular cast of voice actors including Gary Cole, Chris Diamantopoulos, Nat Faxon, David Herman, Brian Huskey, Chi McBride, Tig Notaro, Stephen Root, Andrea Savage, Martin Starr, and Jimmy O. Yang. John Rice and Albert Calleros handled directorial duties with Mike Judge writing the script. The voice cast, especially the people playing off of Beavis and Butthead are fantastic. While all the jokes and best lines from them, the surrounding cast really ties the whole thing together. With characters as insane and hilarious as Beavis and Butthead, you need plenty of straight characters for them to work off of.
The script is tight, with the movie coming in at just under an hour and a half. Nothing is really out of place and it takes the flimsy “frame” of the story and uses it well. Like I said before, how they explain the 24-year time jump is nothing short of genius. Once you get to the present day, the commentary is subtle, and it’s all about Beavis and Butthead.
Is Beavis and Butthead: Do The Universe high cinema that deserves a place alongside Citizen Kane and The Godfather? Yes and no. While the film doesn’t do anything revolutionary from a story standpoint, the sheer fact that they updated Beavis and Butthead for a modern time, without sacrificing the feel and laughs of the original show, is fantastic. The movie is uproarious and hilarious, with laughs coming during every scene. If you love Beavis and Butthead from your youth, they’re here, they’ve just come through a black hole and brought 1998 with them.
Beavis and Butthead: Do The Universe releases on Paramount+ on June 23rd.
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