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  Beavis and Butt-Head Do America Keep On Laughing As You Go
Year: 1996
Director: Mike Judge, Yvette Kaplan
Stars: Mike Judge, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Cloris Leachman, Robert Stack, Jacqueline Barba, Pamela Blair, Eric Bogosian, Kristofor Brown, Tony Darling, John Doman, Tim Guinee, David Letterman, Toby Huss, Sam Johnson, Richard Linklater, Greg Kinnear
Genre: Comedy, Animated, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The city is in a panic as thousands flee the gigantic Butt-Head (voiced by Mike Judge) stomping down the street, chuckling all the way and destroying everything in its path, including the army vehicles and weapons that have been dispatched to stop him. Then he notices a woman in the building he has partly demolished and picks her up, believing he is about to "score" - but he is not counting on the gigantic Beavis (also Judge) heading his way, ruining his chances with her and waking him up. Oh, it was only a dream, but Beavis really was waking him and he has very bad news...

Beavis and Butt-Head was no stranger to controversy in its time on MTV, where the two teenage dunderheads spent their episodes wasting yours with their relentlessly idiotic take on life, and perhaps more importantly, on the music videos that provided interludes between their adventures. To the critics, this was yet more examples of the dumbing down of popular culture, but now that culture has caught up with them, or rather we've descended to their level, we can see that those who enjoyed their antics were onto something: we should be laughing at the stupidest instances of entertainment the media has to offer.

In their way, Beavis and Butt-Head were correct in their largely disparaging take on the world, as a lot of the time there wasn't much else to do but giggle inanely at each fresh foolishness. Of course, there were things that they did like and the delivery system for that was pretty much their beloved television. So what would they do, posited their creator Mike Judge, if the main source of their pleasure was taken away from them? That's right, no more rock and no more chicks (in rock videos). This was of course from the day when you could turn on MTV and see not only these guys but also wall to wall videos, though now such channels are seen as low rent cheap TV and not so much of a draw.

This starts our heroes on a quest to find their goggle box, but they get distracted by an outlaw expecting someone to kill his wife, who is in Las Vegas. The in-joke here for nineties audiences was that they were voiced by Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, but this film is anything but starstruck as everything is dragged down to the numbskull worldview of the animated buddies. Naturally, the comedy revolves like many a TV spinoff around misunderstandings, so when the outlaw hires them to "do" his wife they think he wants them to have sex with her and finally they have something to distract them from TV. That nobody could be that stupid is merely part of the humour - Beavis and Butt-Head could.

In his later film Idiocracy Judge revealed a regretful streak for bringing his creations to the world, as if they were held up by their many fans as exemplars of how you didn't need intelligence to get by, and indeed for happiness it could be a drawback. Yet the seeds of that were sown here, as while we enjoy the manner in which the simpletons undercut any attempt to have a reasonable conversation ("We don't need TV to entertain us." - "Huh, huh, huh, he said 'anus'!") and go even further to topple each and every authority figure they encounter, there was an almost grudging tone to their big screen debut. It was as if Judge were already saying, yeah, stupid can be funny, but look where it's getting us - the meeting between the teens and their absent dads in the desert is amusing, but also kind of depressing if you think about it. Fortunately, thinking isn't really necessary to enjoy Do America, but it helps if you don't exactly approach the boys on their own terms. Music by John Frizell, with Lesbian Seagull the song highlight.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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