Alex has been an online sports and pop culture writer for five years. When he's not writing about sports, Alex is an aspiring screenwriter.
'90s Icons Return
Beavis and Butt-Head—simultaneously icons of the '90s while also lambasting the youth of the era—are back. When they screw up at a science fair, a generous judge sends them to space camp, as he believes it will help them reform. Beavis and Butt-Head are mistaken for geniuses and sent into space. Their incompetence ruins the mission and the duo winds up in a wormhole that sends them to 2022. In the present, the dimwits are mistaken for aliens and hunted by the former astronaut on their mission. Meanwhile, Beavis and Butt-Head are on their ever-present quest to score.
Beavis and Butt-Head: Review-Proof
At first blush, a movie like this almost feels "review proof." To quote Roger Ebert, when it comes to this kind of movie, you either report that you laugh or you do not. And that goes double for Beavis and Butt-Head. If you're not a fan of these two, this movie will likely not sell you. For anyone who is a fan, this movie delivers. Okay, there are some jokes that don't work and a few that overstay their welcome, but there are way more hits than misses.
And this movie makes the hits count. The hard part is not just giving away all the good jokes. Besides funny scenes like Beavis and Butt-Head driving and Beavis imagining what it will be like to finally score, the comedic highlight is Beavis and Butt-Head misinterpreting white privilege. It's way too good to give away, but so funny the movie is worth watching just for this scene.
Beavis and Butt-Head are such products of their time that adapting them to any time except the '90s can be tough. But, adapting them to 2022 works. Like on the show, there is a commentary on the era, but it's not ham-fisted.
Do the Universe vs. Do America
Comparisons between this film and Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996) feel inevitable. They're both road movies, they both involve federal agents mistaking the duo for terrorists, etc. A big difference is Do America felt more cinematic—yes, a movie that begins with Beavis and Butt-Head going into space feels less cinematic. But that is fair: Do America was released to theaters, Do the Universe is streaming.
Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe also plays fast and loose with continuity, claiming that Beavis and Butt-Head were trapped in 1998. That implies that the 2011 series reboot never happened. But can we be surprised? The series always pretended continuity never happened. So, this is fair game.
The film has a few story beats that have a been-there, done-that vibe, such as a rift between Beavis and Butt-Head. Even some of the attempts to lampshade tropes feel like things we've seen before. But, the film also wisely stays in its lane in other areas. It feels like it's going to set up attempts for Beavis to grow, but even in doing so it still keeps Beavis' character in check.
The supporting cast is fine. There are "smart" alien versions of Beavis and Butt-Head who are entertaining. Much like in Do America, the antagonists are stuffed shirts without being a buzzkill. One disappointment is how little we see of the regular supporting cast. Van Driessen has a small part in the beginning and we see characters like McVicker and Buzzcut, but only in non-speaking roles. It feels like a missed opportunity not developing these characters 24 years later.
The animation is a mixed bag. I can't call it bad on face, but it looks a little off, like they hired the budget version of the Archer animators. Considering this movie was made remotely because of the pandemic, this is forgivable. Besides, it's not distracting enough to tarnish the movie.
The movie is also bookended with scenes of Beavis and Butt-head talking to the audience about the plot. This feels a little lazy and it would've been better had these scenes been cut and time allotted to fleshing out the abrupt beginning.
Warts and all, Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe is an entertaining adventure. The film doesn't show much of the Universe, but Beavis and Butt-Head fans who watch this on Prime will have a good time laughing hysterically.