CAST: Mike Judge, Gary Cole, Chris Diamantopoulos, Nat Faxon, David Herman, Brian Huskey, Chi McBride, Tig Notaro, Stephen Root, Andrea Savage, Martin Starr, Jimmy O. Yang
RUNNING TIME: 85 mins
BASICALLY…: Beavis (Judge) and Butt-Head (Judge) are transported to the year 2022…
NOW FOR THE REVIEW…
The 90s gave us plenty of cultural phenomena, from Space Jam to The Matrix, but arguably two of the most confounding breakthroughs in popular culture at the time were two incredibly stupid teenagers that made Bill and Ted look like rocket scientists. Beavis and Butt-Head, the crudely animated creations of Mike Judge (who also voiced both characters), captured a generation of slackers at a time when the world was still deciding what the hell to do with them, and across seven series of television – as well as a successful theatrical outing, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America – they left a controversial impact that still speaks to people’s raw idiocy to this day.
Now, they’re back (again, after a short-lived reboot in 2011) in that movie’s long-awaited sequel, Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe, an outing which will be pleasing to fans who have wanted to see lots more of the no-brained duo for years, and a mindlessly entertaining re-introduction to those who haven’t.
Initially taking place in 1998, Beavis and Butt-Head (both once again voiced by Judge) are sent to space camp where their one-track horniness is mistaken for a genuine passion for science, and are quickly sent up into space with fellow astronaut Selena (Andrea Savage), whom the two teens want to “score” with. Needless to say, the young morons screw things up so badly that Selena flings them out into deep space, where they are sucked into a black hole and spit out back on Earth. However, it is now 2022, twenty-four years after they went to space – but naturally, all that either Beavis or Butt-Head care about is finding Selena, who is now a Senator for their home state of Texas, and sealing the deal. As Selena and the FBI hunts them down, Beavis and Butt-Head get into several escapades along the way, including going to jail, getting stuck in toilets, and even encountering alternate versions of themselves from another dimension, who warn them of impending doom if they don’t return to their usual timeline before it’s too late.
The appeal of the show and that previous feature was always just watching these two dumb, horny and very un-PC teens just be two dumb, horny and very un-PC teens, and Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe is no different to what came before. There is an added element here of seeing how these two characters, who once upon a time could get away with saying some incredibly vulgar and offensive things, function in the present day when it’s recognised more than ever how wrong certain language can be. Not always does the film take full advantage of the characters’ new setting – save for one funny sequence where they learn from a college professor (Tig Notaro) what “white privilege” is – but there is something perversely amusing about watching the universe’s dumbest humans, literally from a different time, just doing what they do best in a modern environment. Often, it can lead to some laugh-out-loud sequences where the joke is clearly meant to be on these two morons and their stunningly low intellect, but also on the world around them that just can’t see, until the last second, that they are just a pair of incredibly stupid kids with nothing to show for themselves.
Long-term fans of Beavis and Butt-Head will be satisfied just from watching more misadventures with this duo (and with many more to come, with Paramount+ also having commissioned a new series to follow this film), while the less familiar crowd will get a plentiful taste of the idiocy that Mike Judge loves, and always has loved, to satirise. Whether or not you find these characters irritating is beside the point: like it or not, both Beavis and Butt-Head reflect a generation of slackers during that period of time between the conservative baby boomers and the progressive millennials, which Judge uses to hold up a mirror to the society that shaped them, and see how it can produce some very, very worrying examples of humanity. The satirical appeal of these characters has given them longer lasting power than perhaps even Judge could have foreseen, and in 2022 there is still plenty to discover about how both Beavis and Butt-Head have shaped and defined that in-between generation, which makes complete sense as to why they are returning now than, say, ten years ago when that reboot didn’t take off like one may have hoped.
Still, whether this is your first or umpteenth exposure to Beavis and Butt-Head, this film gives them a funny, entertaining and intelligently stupid (perhaps even stupidly intelligent) platform to once again horrify the world with their utter stupidity.
SO, TO SUM UP…
Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe is a long-awaited return for Mike Judge’s most outrageous creations, in a feature-length follow-up to their previous movie that captures everything that made these two extremely dumb characters a cultural phenomenon in the 90s, which should please long-time fans as well as offering newcomers a funny and entertaining platform to introduce themselves to their brain-dead misadventures.