Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 26 minutes, Directors – Albert Calleros, John Rice
When a space mission goes wrong, 90s slackers Beavis and Butt-Head (Mike Judge) find themselves sent 24 years into the future, where their core aim remains to score.
When it was announced that Beavis and Butt-Head would be making another return to screens some raised the question as to how the characters, and their 90s style slacker humour, would come across in 2022. Well, the answer appears to be just about the same as it did back in the day. Mike Judge’s cartoon duo remain the same “two very, very stupid, and horny, teenagers” they always were. It’s confirmed as we meet them in 1998, hanging around in the school gym where Butt-Head (Judge) is “trying to find out how many times I can kick Beavis [also Judge] in the nads before he passes out”. Not for the sake of the currently happening science fair, but simply for fun.
After a shoe-to-the-balls goes horribly wrong the pair find themselves in court and eventually space camp, where they appear to be more impressed by scoring than landing on the moon. After accidentally proving themselves as apparent prodigies when it comes to space tech the pair are sent on an important mission to space – the point of which goes over their head as they think their purpose is to have space sex with mission commander Serena Ryan (Andrea Savage). It’s perhaps a slightly detailed opening to what eventually leads the pair to leap 24 years into the future to today, however it brings to mind the openings of classic Simpsons episodes. A random event or occurrence that seems unrelated leading to the eventual plot of the episode. However, in the case of Beavis And Butt-Head it all seems to make sense. With the two central characters and their mindsets being the focus of most of the jokes, or rather the joke, there are plenty to of chuckles to be had as things are built up and get going. Particularly helped by the fact that much of this doesn’t feel like build-up, instead acting as throwing you into the developing plot from the start with its layers of absurdity and crudeness.
Once in the future the pair are intent on completing their mission, trying to track down now-Texas Senator Serena to finally score with her. However, she wants the pair dead so that her past isn’t revealed, while other government agents are trying to track down a pair of odd-looking aliens who have just arrived on the planet. Certainly the film as a whole doesn’t feel like an extended episode. It may be made up of various short stages and ideas before moving onto the next situation that Beavis and Butt-Head can get up to and misunderstand in the modern day, jokes which could so easily feel tired but generally manage to keep their head above water, but things move along fairly well over the short 86 minute course of the narrative.
Things could easily lean into the central figures adapting to modern culture and the way in which attitudes have changed since the 90s, there is one moment where white privilege is discussed with a worthwhile punchline, however things travel more along the lines of them viewing a smartphone as just a small TV before using it to buy the world’s supply of nachos. They’ve been told by alternate versions of themselves (named Smart Beavis and Smart Butt-Head) that they need to get to a portal before all world’s are threatened and close in on themselves, but there are more important things at stake. All involving their own sex-crazed minds. Little, if anything, has changed and the film works well for it. This isn’t to say that it’s a completely un-PC fest, the focus has long been, and continues to be placed, on the pair’s idiocy more than anything else. More that the pair very much feel like the same characters, getting up to the same stuff, and it’s still rather amusing to see unfold. A smile begins to emerge as you once again hear the declaration “I am Cornholio! I need TP for my bunghole!”
Beavis and Butt-Head return with little changed about themselves. They’re still idiots. Very horny idiots. It often feels as if little has changed (although this does come from someone not overly familiar with the characters) apart from the updated look and movement of the same-style animation. The core joke is very much the same, and for a large part of Do The Universe it manages to raise a number of chuckles over the short amount of time the film goes on for. It fits into its run-time well and doesn’t really outstay its welcome, knowing just about what it can do with its various ideas and sequences before it/ they begin to run out of steam – only slightly showing signs of slowing down towards the end as things begin to wrap up and some jokes start to run their course. However, overall this is a rather welcome return for two of animations biggest idiots. They remain that way, known by the creators who seemingly have no intention of making them seem otherwise. It’s one of the biggest reasons why this return works and manages to keep the viewer engaged with its humour in each moment and situation. Not quite leaving you laughing for no reason but definitely not leaving you agreeing that “this sucks”.
Amongst the various moments and sequences which construct the narrative of Beavis And Butt-Head Do The Universe there’s plenty to be amused by within the central jokes. Things might begin to wear out towards the end, but generally this is a consistently amusing return for the slacker duo.