Beavis and Butt-Head Do America

1996, PG-13, 82 min. Directed by Mike Judge. Voices by Mike Judge, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Robert Stack.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Dec. 20, 1996

MTV Films' second foray into the world of big-screen entertainment (their first was this summer's hamstrung Joe's Apartment) takes the network's most popular animated stars and, uh, makes them bigger. And louder. And, yes, funnier. Beavis and Butt-head, pop-culture phenomena that they are, are still an acquired taste. Either you love them or you hate them and Beavis and Butt-head Do America is unlikely to make too many converts to the cause of their inspired lunacy, but for those who consider themselves squarely on the side of lowbrow shenanigans, Judge's feature debut is all that and more. When their most cherished possession -- their television -- is stolen, the boys (both voiced by Judge) embark on a cross-country trek to retrieve it. Along the way, they unwittingly fall prey to a white-trash con-artist, Muddy (Willis), who mistakes them for the killers he's hired to “do” his wayward wife Dallas (Moore). Before long, the pair have to contend with not only Muddy, but also an overzealous F.B.I. agent (Stack) with a seriously warped penchant for body-cavity searches and neighbor Tom Anderson (Judge), who just wants to be left in peace to enjoy scenic America in his motor home. Along the way, Beavis and Butt-head take their first airplane flight, meet their fathers, almost “do it” and, in a brilliant set-piece featuring animation by Rob Zombie, accidentally trip out on some peyote buttons. The only thing missing are the videos, but you never even miss them. Judge and co-writer Joe Stillman keep the film moving at roughly the pace of an old Three Stooges two-reeler, and amazingly, 90% of the gags hit home. There's very little that falls by the wayside here, and even though the film really doesn't expand our already considerable knowledge of these two losers deluxe, it never manages to feel redundant or contrived. Buoyed by a powerful soundtrack featuring White Zombie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a host of others (the opening title sequence with Isaac Hayes skewering his famous “Theme From Shaft” is worth the price of admission alone), Beavis and Butt-head Do America is a wellspring of lowbrow comedy that leaves you giggling in spite of yourself. Truly, it does not suck.

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