Lovable slackers Bill Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan return, get killed by their evil robot doppelgangers from the future, go to hell, beat Death at Battleship (and Clue, electric football, and Twister–Death is a sore loser), go to heaven, recruit the help of an alien scientist, and come back to life most triumphantly to rescue the babes and save the day.
Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey doesn’t work quite as well as Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but its combination of zany ambition and sheer charm means that it comes pretty close. For one thing, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are as charming as ever, and their goofy, goodhearted rapport continues to be almost enough to carry the move on its own. For another thing, the sheer scope and weirdness of Bogus Journey, which goes much further afield than its predecessor, makes up for a lot. The hell sequence is comparatively uninspired, but the heaven of aliens, charades, and tasteful lavender is most excellent. And a simple Seventh Seal parody gets embroidered on to the point where it becomes unfunny and then somehow funny yet again–and leads to Death himself (William Sadler) being conscripted as a sidekick and fellow bandmate. Even the smallest jokes sometimes have a twist to them that amps up the delight: the fact that the menacing, fascistic Chuck De Nomolos is Rufus’s former gym teacher fills me with endless joy.
If your series is going to have a slight step down in its second installment, it might as well make sure that step includes God directing the characters to a puppet-alien who can build a robot out of Home Depot supplies. That’s a truth universally acknowledged.