Beavis and Butt-Head are 90s era relics preserved in amber. While for other franchises that can seem stagnant, the fact that Beavis and Butt-Head remain exactly the same is part of the gag. It’s sort of the same gag over and over but it becomes hilarious and oddly insightful as various dopey higher-ups project meaning onto the duo’s pronouncements if something sucks or is cool, inevitably leading to chaos. After a long hiatus, the latest film (exclusive to Paramount+) Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe is a fantastic return for the two idiots as the world has changed around them, they remain steadfastly stupid.
In the year 1998, Beavis and Butt-Head (Mike Judge, who is also the creator of the iconic duo) blew up their science fair after Butt-Head experimented in ways to kick Beavis in the crotch and are sentenced to Space Camp. At the NASA training site they impress an astronaut, Serena (Andrea Savage) by their ability to perform a complex shuttle docking maneuver for 18 hours straight without any food or water. The only reason they do this is because they’re enthralled that the shuttle equipment looks vaguely phallic. Serena and her crew bring Beavis and Butt-Head along to the space station to dock which they immediately screw up causing an explosion. Even worse, Serena launches them into the abyss where they fall through a wormhole and land in the year 2022. They are confronted by alternate universe versions of themselves, Smart Beavis and Smart Butt-Head who tell the boys they have to return to their time or the universe will collapse. But caring about the universe sucks and while the feds and an older Serena are trying to hunt them down, the boys want to find her because they think they’ll score. As often happens, mayhem ensues just by them being Beavis and Butt-Head.
The concept of shooting Beavis and Butt-Head through a wormhole from the late ‘90s into the present day is a good way to maintain their eternal teenager look and move the world around them along. This does sort of completely overwrite the 2011 Season 8 of Beavis and Butt-Head where the boys (still the same age) were joking about Twilight and engaging in drone warfare. But as Do the Universe introduces an entire multiverse of Beavis and Butt-Heads, Season 8 can be considered one of those. There’s even a peek into a universe where Beavis and Butt-Head didn’t jump to 2022 showing a horrible looking middle-aged Beavis and Butt-Head which the boys think is cool.
Judge is still voicing the characters and hasn’t missed a beat. While Judge has done other projects like Office Space, Idiocracy and Silicon Valley, his return to Beavis and Butt-Head is pitch perfect. The way they view everything in very simple terms, cool or sucks, is actually kind of refreshing, especially in times when debate can become so heated. There’s a conflict between the two here as Beavis falls in love with Serena even harder than Butt-Head who just wants to score. The thing is Beavis isn’t actually talking to Serena; he’s talking to Siri on a stolen iPhone but still bears his soul. Obviously, the only reason the guys think they can score with Serena is because she asked them to do the docking maneuver with her so they think it means they’ll get some. This potential to score seems to sustain them physically and mentally, even when they’re shot into space days later they’re still floating with no adverse effects and Butt-Head says optimistically, “The dance of seduction continues.”
Savage as Serena gets to start as idealistic and eventually go crazy, by the time the boys arrive in 2022 she’s some sort of right wing politician running for re-election and the appearance of two teenagers she thought she killed 25 years ago is a problem. She has a sidekick, Hartson (Nat Faxon), who was on the shuttle decades ago and he’s a giant wimp good for a few laughs. The Feds are after the boys because they think they’re aliens who should be dissected. The duo cause chaos wherever they go by simply moving in one direction, in this case home so they can score. The introduction of the guys into 2022 has a few awesome gags, like when a tourist hands them a smartphone to take a picture and the boys just say “This show sucks, it just has some fat people on it.” Naturally, once they’re introduced to the wonders of paying with a phone they blow it all on nachos. One of the funniest bits is when the guys end up at a University and they find out they’re recipients of “white privilege” which they think is cool so they take a bunch of stuff because they say they’re entitled to it. The alternate universe Smart Beavis and Smart Butt-Head look like the Watcher from Marvel and talk rather intelligently, instead of laughing they proclaim something is “highly amusing”.
It has been a long time but Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe proves the boys can still be as entertaining and cause destruction simply by being themselves. Their refusal to change makes their incongruous appearance in modern times funnier. In a crazy world, the craziness of Beavis and Butt-Head fits perfectly.
Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe
Directors: John Rice and Albert Calleros
Starring: Mike Judge, Gary Cole, Nat Faxon, Chi McBride and Andrea Savage