Creeping out with the smallest amount of noise is another resurrection of a classic property, 20 odd years after we last saw anything. Normally these revisits come with a lot of celebration, Bill and Ted, Jurassic World Dominion, Top Gun and all the others that have dragged back the original elements to recapture the magic. With little fanfare, I sought out Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe with low expectations.
A quick but visually impressive opening credit sequence shows off some interesting animation and I was initially hopeful this new approach might be used in the film a little more, but not before settling into the traditional hand drawn approach, a comfortable fit. Not much has happened in the boy’s lives since we last saw them. In fact they are where we left them, on the couch in front of the TV. The film wastes no time getting into its epic storyline and I was a little let down that we didn’t spend much time with the familiar faces in their lives disappeared.
The plot involves the typical dumb central character(s) be mistaken for a genius and recommended for great things. How Judge acheives this is with a smoothly written series of events focusing on two horny teenagers believing they will score with a hot astronaut whilst their juvenile actions manage to impress NASA executives into believing they at both geniuses. Propelled into space the pair destroy everything and fall into a Black Hole. Slipping through the Black Hole disturbs the delicate balance of the parallel universes and their existance hangs in the balnace unless another Beavis and Butthead, from one of the parallel universes, can convince the original Beavis and Butthead to fix things. Meanwhile a couple of surviving astronauts are determined to track down the original Beavis and Butthead as they believe they are out for revenge.
Do the Universe has a surprisingly complicated storyline but manages to fill it with charm, silliness and enjoyably juvenile jokes. In the mix are some moments of satire of modern society and culture clash as the duo from the 90’s attempt to understand 2022.
Rather that reinventing the pair for a new audience, Judge is gives the old audience a nostalgic hug and by doing more of the same. We are all older now and whilst it won’t have the viewer rolling in the aisles, mainly becuase is isn’t in cinemas, but also as it isn’t side splittingly funny. The audience are more likely to agreeably roll their eyes and smirk at the humour. We are too mature now to belly laugh at the purile jokes that we used to laugh at before, lots.
This feels much less of a blockbuster than Do America, despite the intergalactic scope of the film. Do America had a recognisable, all-star cast with Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Robert Stack, Do the Universe has Gary Cole and … Susan Bennett (the voice of Siri.) Do America linked in with The Red Hot Chilli Peppers for a chart topping single, Rollercoaster; and to a revive of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Lesbian Seagull. Do the Universe focuses a bit more on heavy metal in the soundtrack but there is no push for a charttopping success. Popping up on Paramount+ Do the Universe is not hitting cinemas and this feels like a better fit for the film. Paying to see Do the Universe in the cinema may have been a little underwhelming.
It was nice to spend some time with these two again and on a new adventure. This is almost a forgotten slice of culture and taking stock over the years I realise I was a bigger fan of Beavis and Butthead than I thought. I had the movie on video, then on DVD. The CD single from the original movie. Also I had two games, one called Virtual Stupidity on the PC and a Sega Game Gear game. There was a poster on my wall and I remember looking for the TV episodes on MTV frequently… back in the day. A childhood friend did an excellent impression of Cornholio and we sang Lesbian Seagull on those late nights drinking on the beach as a teenager. It all came flooding back.
Beavis And Butt-Head Do The Universe is a great little sequel, the perfect example of less is more. It doesn’t feel like a greedy cash grab, or a lapsing property. Instead it’s an gently auspicious follow-up. So thank you Mike Judge for not letting it die off, and not milking it. Hehe, he said milking…