Review: 'Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe' (2022) Dirs. John Rice & Albert Calleros
26 years after doing America, the MTV teenage slackers return for a bigger, bolder and more bungholio fuelled adventure for their next conquest - outer space and new dimensions...
1998 High-school teens Beavis (Judge) and Butt-Head (Judge) are full of aimless inhibition and aspirations. When they inadvertently destroy their school science fair, and half the school, they are identified as youths who need more educational and social support in life.
The pair are sent to learn at the Johnson Space Centre in Texas, and become fascinated with a mission to dock with the MIR Space Station, thanks to it's phallic connotations. NASA chooses the boys to join the space mission under Captain Serena Ryan (Savage).
But the mission doesn't go to plan, and they are catapulted through a black-hole to the year 2022. Hunted by the US Government, and their future selves from a parallel universe, Beavis and Butt-head must get back to 1998 before they destroy the universe in a quest to "score"...
After eight seasons across MTV and a feature film at the height of their power, Beavis and Butt-Head return to the screens for the first time in eleven years. As a direct sequel to Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, even though there is no direct connection between them and creator Mike Judge steps back from directing, it's very familiar territory for fans. For those not aware of the juvenile, sex-obsessed, snivelling teens, there is little here you're going to find appealing or amusing.
Judge voices the two losers on fine form, with the trademark raging fury of Beavis and calm lisp of Butt-Head. They act the same, look the same, sound the same and pretty much are the same since we last saw them, so fans are easily going to be pleased with this return. Additional talent comes in the guise of Gary Cole, Chris Diamantopoulos and Andrea Savage as the adults who end up facing dire situations thanks to the two youths and their mis-adventures.
The most charming factor is that neither Beavis or Butt-Head has changed over the years or pandered to changing social attitudes; they're still focused on "scoring", are ignorant and rude, and still get into trouble on a national level without ever knowing why.
While the animation has changed with new technology, it looks as 90s as ever. Again, retaining the core charm from Judge in his beloved creation. There is nothing changed or re-modelled to suffice new generations of film audiences. This is classic MTV animation than your usual Pixar. It's just a shame the content doesn't seem to be as fresh as it was in the said 90s. It's still putting humour on sex and drugs, and a little rock n' roll. A host of quirky characters working for the prison correction system, or the US Government, or NASA, or even simple passers-by, aren't afraid to cuss and bend rules as they encounter the two teens who push everyone's buttons without even realising. And the pair still want to simply have sex; that's it. Even when they tried to do America, the MacGuffin remains the same here.
It allows for some puerile comedy and crass humour, without ever being gratuitous, but it never feels funny unless you're over the age of 13. How many times do we need to be reminded the term "wood" is funny because it is slang for a penis, or "hole" can also mean an orifice, and how many dreams of bouncing boobs does it take to be something sexy? Answer is too many times, and it's not really very funny. The adult themed animation and characters carry over well, but the humour itself doesn't feel....humorous.
Don't expect much about a science-fiction story or universal dimension travelling. This is a simple story of trying to score, evade the US Government and appreciate the meaning of friendship, but 26 years after they first did it in ...Do America. The novelty wears off after the first twenty minutes, and even at 80mins long, there is little energy or comedy value to warrant another big feature film.
Allowing audiences to remember why they love, or loathe, the bumbling duo before a new series lands on Paramount+, the core humour has not changed and while that doesn't allow much room to do anything new, especially in a feature film, it may prove satisfying for a new TV show where little is probably better than excess padding like we have here.
A dream return for fans of MTV's most famous slackers, but lacking any real new humour or content since the last time we saw them. Beavis and Butt-Head simply belong in short TV episodes, because the novelty isn't the same as it was when we were teens.
'Beavis And Butt-Head Do The Universe' is a co-production between MTV Entertainment Studios, Titmouse, Inc., 3 Arts Entertainment and Judgemental Films