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Beavis & ButtHead Do America (1996)
Rated PG13

Starring: The voices of Mike Judge, Demi Moore, and Bruce Willis

Rating:
***1/2
out of
*****

When Beavis & ButtHead originally appeared on MTV for the first time, I was convinced the apocalypse was close at hand. I found the humor almost as crude as the artwork. A friend of mine -- who I thought was insane at the time -- told me how much he enjoyed the humor and tried to convince me that, underneath all the scatalogical humor and bad art, the show was actually quite funny. I reluctantly took a second look at the show and found him to be absolutely right.

In this, their first big-screen adventure, Beavis and ButtHead find that their television set has been stolen and they set off to find it. Stumbling into a situation where they are hired as hitmen, they are given the opportunity to travel across the country to cause havoc everywhere they go. The plot, of course, is simply to give Beavis and ButtHead a chance to make sick jokes, give their twisted opinions of reality and try to figure out life outside the TV room. For fans of the TV show, this movie is more of the same stuff on a grander scale. (And, with a PG13 rating, the characters are allowed to be a bit more extreme.)

I realize that Beavis and ButtHead may not appeal to everyone. Although a lot of people say they hate the little guys, I believe that most of them have never really looked beyond the incessant giggling and the sexually-oriented jokes to see that, believe it or not, Beavis and ButtHead are actually fairly intelligent social commentators. Well, actually, Mike Judge is the social commentator and Beavis and ButtHead are the medium of expressing his opinions.

Mike Judge uses Beavis and ButtHead to reveal the underbelly of middle America and its sometimes hilarious and sometimes downright frighteningly cruel sides. Judge uses Beavis and ButtHead to focus on the problems of a youth culture that puts priorities on sex, drugs and rock and roll rather than being perceived as smart or as an over-achiever. If the information revolution that brings images and sounds into our homes on demand has a dark side, it is Beavis and ButtHead and their ilk who feel that, if their TV is gone, life sucks.

Now, to make Beavis & ButtHead Do America sound like a social commentary of tremendous importance is ridiculous. That commentary is simply a subtle part of the humor that's contained within the movie and its version of reality. I can't say the movie will convert someone who doesn't get or like the TV series' brand of humor, but I will say that if you do like the series, you'll love the movie. I do and I did.

Trivia: Mike Judge has ceased production of the Beavis & ButtHead series to concentrate on his new TV series, King of the Hill. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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