Reviews

Beavis And Butt-Head Do America

4

Man's attempts to "score" have met with frustration and failure ever since Eve first offered him a bite of Granny Smith. And rarely has the awkwardness of his hormonal hobby been better portrayed than in this epic story of love, life, lust and sniggering. Like the best of Shakespeare, Beavis And Butt-Head explores a timeless and universal theme - while chuckling about the word "anus".

Base laughs abound. B&B provides something for everyone by operating on all levels, its humour ranging from the cryptic to the crude (okay, it's mostly crude). As for the visuals, if you've caught Beavis and Butt-Head's MTV show, you'll know that the animation is rudimentary - just right for the characters. Here it's been spiced up hardly at all, making Do America the flattest, simplest big-screen cartoon of recent years - not that this matters a jot, especially as Yvette Kaplan's team pull the stops out where it matters. When Beavis swallows some dodgy desert fungus, the psychedelic fractals of his hallucinogenic trip are bizarre and spectacular, while the weirdo characters they come across on their travels are consistently memorable. (Kinky FBI Agent Fleming and his rubber-gloved assistant, who insist on searching everyone they meet, stick in the mind. For some reason.) It's fun listening out for cameos from the great and good, too - Bruce and Demi are particularly entertaining as a couple who want each other dead.

MTV fans worrying about B&B without the video "commentaries" should be placated by the film's musical contributions, mostly air guitar specials from the likes of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and White Zombie. Elsewhere there's an audacious bid for best song title ever - Mr Englebert Humperdinck, with his track Lesbian Seagull.

For Beavis and Butt-Head, all things in life fall neatly into two categories: they're either "cool" or they "suck". And this is how most people will see the adolescent awkwardness of their first feature. The biggest surprise is that you don't need to be a fan to enjoy it - just have an open (grubby) mind. Mike Judge has created a confident, comic take on the good old US road movie, one that draws on universal themes (the fucked-upness of teenagers, and their quest to get laid) to transcend language and culture: on this showing, the duo will probably "do" Britain and the rest of Europe.

Those who expected In-Joke Hell have been proved wrong. Do America's success is that you don't need to know a thing about B&B to spend 81 minutes tittering your nuts off at them.

Verdict:

A great triumvirate: highly apt animation, three-dimensional character and filthy innuendo. Bizarre, even surrealistic, it definitely doesn't suck.

Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: May 23rd 1997