- Based on Beavis and Butt-Head created by Mike Judge
- Directed by Mike Judge
- December 20, 1996
- Beavis, Butt-Head, Tom Anderson, Mr. Van Driessen, Principal McVicker-Mike Judge
- Muddy Grimes-Bruce Willis
- Dallas Grimes-Demi Moore
- Old Woman On Plane and Bus-Cloris Leachman
- Agent Flemming-Robert Stack
- ATF Agent Bork-Greg Kinnear
- Mötley Crüe roadie-David Letterman (credited as Earl Hofert)
- Additional Voices-Jacqueline Barba, Pamela Blair, Eric Bogosian, Kristofor Brown, Tony Darling, John Doman, Francis DuMaurier, Jim Flaherty, Tim Guinee, Toby Huss, Sam Johnson, Richard Linklater, Rosemary McNamara, Harsh Nayyar, Karen Phillips, Dale Reeves, Mike Ruschak, and Gail Thomas
While attempting to find their stolen television, Beavis and Butt-Head end up traveling cross-country in an attempt to “score” and become fugitives sought after by the FBI as well as the ATF.
I am not calling Beavis and Butt-Head Do America great comedy but it if you enjoyed the original series, you will enjoy this animated feature. It’s a near perfect encapsulation of the style of humor that made that show enjoyable to so many. There are no music videos and thus no music video commentary in this which is the only aspect of that series that is really missing.
Beavis and Butt-head through their stupidity stumble through a plot to kill world leaders. The weird thing is that whole aspect given the characters is kind of muted. You don’t really realize that’s what’s going on until you actually think about the film. This is a huge plot that manages to come off as secondary to everything else. I just found that fascinating.
It all begins with a TV and our two central characters journey is propelled by one misunderstanding after another. Nobody can be as stupid as they are yet they are and that lack of realization by the other characters they meet or regularly deal with is what moves them along much like anything in the actual story portion of their series would. The unrepentant idiocy of Beavis and Butt-Head and the inability of those around them to understand that largely propels them.
The humor of the film is just as dumb as I remember from the series. Nothing wrong with that. Dumb humor is good though some dumb humor ages better than other. Going off on a tangent I think back to an attempt recently to rewatch Dumb and Dumber. I got through maybe 10 or 15 minutes before I couldn’t make it any further. I loved that movie when it came out but the dumb humor has aged poorly in that. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America however is still as good now as then. Perhaps in the end there is an art to dumb humor.
Aside from satirizing American youth, this movie takes a few more direct shots at other things. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America itself comes off as a bit of a parody or homage to North by Northwest. I might be reaching a little bit with that, but it does have that nation crossing thriller concept to it. And more broadly it’s a parody of the thriller where the Average Joe must save the nation. The opening credits of the film also take a swipe at Starsky & Hutch and the general overly tough guy hero of 70s cinema. The opening song “Two Cool Guys” is performed Isaac Hayes who gave Shaft its iconic song and really cements that vibe.
The soundtrack is much better than it should be and is mostly serious work with “Lesbian Seagull” from the series performed here by Engelbert Humperdinck. We have such songs as “Ain’t Nobody” by LL Cool J, “Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks and Cannibal Girls” by White Zombie, “I Wanna Riot” by Rancid with Stubborn All-Stars, a demo version of “Walk on Water” by Ozzy Osbourne, “Snakes” by No Doubt, “Pimp’n Ain’t EZ” by Madd Head, a rock version of “The Lord Is a Monkey” by Butthole Surfers, “White Trash” by Southern Culture on the Skids, “Gone Shootin'” by AC/DC, and an amazing version of “Love Rollercoaster” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Great stuff for any movie.
Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is an animated film that at the time capitalized on a particular show’s moment of high popularity. One would not expected to still be entertaining 25 years later but here we are. The animation we get in the film is very in keeping with what we got in the show. It very naturally fits in visually with the series. More polished but not that different.
If you are a fan of Beavis and Butt-Head, then I suggest you check out Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. It has much of what made the show so good. However if you can’t recall the series or just never watched it skip this because you are not the intended audience and it most likely won’t appeal.