Beavis and Butt-Head Do The Universe Review: As Much Effort As The Characters Give

✯✯½

I own the complete DVD set of Beavis and Butt-Head. I bring that up at the start of this review to stress this is not a review coming from the perspective of a past tense fan who only remembers the show. No, I watch it frequently as an adult. I love the show’s darkly nihilistic look at people who never had a chance and who you start to think don’t deserve one. There’s a grit and sleaze to the animation. And of course the fantastic 1996 film looms large for me, a razor sharp parody.

I’m thus very not happy today. And I think I have to study why in some depth. Because Beavis and Butt-Head Do The Universe is as phoned in an effort as I’ve ever seen. And I’ve watched the Injustice animated movie! This has less effort and passion than that and winds up tainting a brand where the entire joke is a character would note I said taint.

The plot begins in 1998 and sends Beavis and Butt-Head (Mike Judge on both) destroying the gym in typical style when a bizarre judge sentences them to Space Camp where they prove unexpectedly good at docking equipment because it’s vaguely sexual. They get sent into space as specialists where of course they cause a huge accident and in rage the head of the mission who they think they will score with (Andrea Savage) tries to ki ll them. They get sucked into a wormhole and reemerge in 2022 where she is now governor and tries to kill them to cover things up while the NSA chases them. Oh and there are smart versions.

Writing that plot synopsis explains the film’s biggest issue. It has way too much plot and not enough at the same time. The amount of leg work to get them to 2022 is insane but also the plot is really not very good. See you might notice that if I strip the details away, it’s Do America again. They get chased by forces trying to kill them while thinking they will have sex. And it’s a very unflattering comparison. It doesn’t help that the movie reminded me hard of the far tighter Bill and Ted Face The Music which used every second of its time to be inventive and funny.

Weirdly, this is one of the most bloated films I’ve ever seen. There is a bizarre amount of air in this film. Jokes run on for a few seconds too long in every instance, even good jokes. The pacing is off. And when the films I’m comparing it to were textbook snappy that’s not good. The film is just not paced right.

I also strongly doubt Judge actually wanted in on the multiverse trend. He’s clearly disinterested in it and the only real use is the smart versions, a joke that dies on screen. It’s a weird setup to get them in the present too when the last revival simply set them in the modern day with no needed explanation. I really recommend that btw.

The animation also needs scorn. It’s too clean. Too Archer. It underlined to me this was a tv movie. It’s really not as effective as the classic look.

OK, with all that said, I have to admit I’m not angry at this film. In fact, I’d call it perfectly watchable. And that’s really on one truth. I still love these guys. The movie is at its best when we simply watch them be terrible. When they go to a college and discover white privilege, the satire has never been sharper. It’s a great segment. So is the trend of people thinking they’re great redeeming figures. That keeps working. And watching Beavis fall for Siri might be an easy joke but it works. I’m just glad I saw them again.

I’m being very harsh on a film that never aimed higher than ok. But I know this could be more. The running joke of the movie is everyone lets them slide because they deserved better. That’s not going to be me. This wasn’t good enough.


Watch the trailer right here.

All images via Paramount.


Directed by John Rice and Albert Calleros
Screenplay by Mike Judge, Lew Morton, from the series Beavis and Butt-Head by Mike Judge
Produced by Matthew Mahoney
Starring Mike Judge, Gary Cole, Nat Faxon, Chi McBride, Andrea Savage
Release Date: June 23, 2022
Running Time: 86 minutes

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