Review: Beavis and Butthead Do the Universe

By Christian DiMartino

I’m pretty juvenile. Or at least, I can find juvenile things funny if they’re done right. Believe it or not, I’ve never seen a single episode of Beavis and Butthead, but I have seen their movie, Beavis and Butthead Do America. It’s that rare TV-to-film transition that works on its own terms, and like the rest of Mike Judge’s films (Office Space, Idiocracy, Extract), it’s pretty funny stuff. It was essentially the Beavis and Butthead version of Dumb and Dumber, with the two horny idiots experiencing misunderstanding after misunderstanding while they were being hunted by people who deemed them smart. Like Dumb and Dumber, it’s stupid and immature, but it’s hilarious because there’s a creativity behind the stupidity.

Now comes Beavis and Butthead Do the Universe, some 26 years after the original, and I gotta say, Judge, Beavis, and Butthead haven’t lost their touch. This is perhaps the funniest movie of the year so far; one where you’ll find yourself laughing and you may not exactly be proud of it. Why studio comedies are sort of a distant memory at the moment is beyond me, but at least they can still find life on streamers (it’s currently streaming on Paramount+). Beavis and Butthead Do the Universe is just the kind of stupid that I have been needing, wanting, and craving.

Is there really a point in trying to explain the plot? Nah, it’s all nonsense. But I guess I will anyways, just to see if I can type it with a straight face. It essentially has the same structure of the original film, but like any successful sequel, it takes the ideas to new places. In this case, those places are absolutely absurd, but the absurdity is welcome here. Which is good, because there’s plenty of it.

The film opens in 1998, with Beavis and Butthead at a science fair. Butthead is kicking Beavis in the balls repeatedly to see how long it will take before he throws up. When asked if this is their science project, they respond with, “what science fair?” Anyways, Beavis is kicked in the nuts so hard that he flies across the building, knocks some stuff over, and they burn the building down. Obviously they’re sent to court, where their judge, rather than punish them, decides to send them to space camp.

While at space camp, they are fiddling around with technology that appears to be mimicking sexual acts, for 18 hours. They are spotted by a group of astronauts, led by one Serena Ryan (Andrea Savage) who observe them and deem them brilliant and ahead of the curve. Serena recruits them to join them on their mission to space; Beavis and Butthead misconstrue what she says and they’re under the impression that they are going to sleep with her. While in space, Beavis and Butthead nearly kill the entire crew. It is here where Serena makes the realization that they are total idiots, and she kicks them off the ship and send them floating off into space. While floating around, they enter a wormhole that transports them to 2022, and regardless of what has just happened to them, they decide to carry out their pursuit of sleeping with Serena, who intends on killing them once and for all.

Does any of this make any logical sense? No. But just about all of it is funny. The film is 86 minutes, the bulk of what I just described occurring in about the first 20. When I made this realization, I was relieved. Because this is one of those movies in which the film’s creative energy just keeps going. Each scenario that Beavis and Butthead find themselves in is funny, occasionally hilarious. I’m not sure how long Judge (whose last film was the underrated Extract back in 2009) has been brewing this movie but you can definitely tell that he had a blast writing this.

Are Beavis and Butthead a relic of their time? Probably. The movie is aware of that too. But I was happy to be in their company again. People simply just aren’t making movies like this anymore. Maybe it’s because a lot of people are as uptight as the college class that B & B visit, and are informed and confronted of their white privilege (they take the definition as a positive). I liked this movie, I liked it quite a bit. It’s a refreshingly, cheerfully silly movie without a dull moment. I could watch about five of these Beavis and Butthead movies, as long as they’re as funny as this.

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