Spawned in 1993 from the brain of creator Mike Judge, Beavis and Butt-Head are two dimwitted, socially awkward teenagers who spend their days skipping school watching music videos and declaring that everything is either cool or sucks. That is as deep as they go but despite this were a big ratings hit when the original TV show aired on MTV from 1993 to 1997. It was perhaps inevitable then that a feature length episode would be made and thus in 1996 Beavis And Butt-Head Do America was released.
The plot is as simple as one might expect – Beavis and Butt-Head wake from a day time snooze to find that someone has broken into their house and stolen their TV. Needless to say this sucks enough that they go on the hunt for a replacement which leads them first to their school to try and unsuccessfully steal the A/V departments TV and then to a motel that advertises “TVs in every room”.
Wandering between the rooms they encounter Muddy Grimes (voiced by Bruce Willis) who is expecting two hitmen to arrive looking for instructions on killing his wife. Predictably there is a mix up and our titular duo are assumed to be the hitmen and instructed to “do” Muddy’s wife. With the promise of sex in their minds, the boys head to Vegas to meet with her.
After reaching Vegas, their hotel room is next to the woman they have been sent to do who quickly realises that they have no idea why they are there. While they argue over who will do her first, she plants a biological weapon in Beavis’ pants and disappears leaving them with bus tickets to Washington DC just as the police arrive.
Beavis and Butt-Head, now obliviously bound for the capital, cause havoc along the way through a predictable combination of mistaken identity and circumstance which includes destroying the Hoover Dam and stumbling across their idiot fathers out in the desert after losing their bus at a rest stop and deciding to walk the remaining 2,000 miles.
With the ATF hot on their ‘criminal mastermind’ tails, things finally unravel in Washington DC and their American odyssey ends in a stand off with armed police. Since Muddy and Dallas have been caught, Beavis And Butt-Head go free after being made honourary ATF agents by Bill Clinton. Upon returning to their home town, they find their stolen TV outside the motel and carry it off into the sunset.
Whilst the story is dumb and the characters even dumber, this is actually quite enjoyable in places. The main ATF agent demands that every single suspect, no matter how flimsy their potential involvement, be given full cavity searches and a recurring joke about whacking off in Beavis and Butt-Head’s neighbour’s tool shed reaches an epic conclusion towards the end. The neighbour would of course go on to be proud propane salesman Hank Hill in Mike Judge’s superior TV show King Of The Hill.
Back in its time, Beavis And Butt-Head Do America genuinely was a surprisingly good film but with the duo falling out of the public eye (although watch for a new series of the classic TV show in early 2012 in the UK) it has aged very poorly. For much of the run time, you will not really raise a smile and you will wonder why on earth Cornholio was funny back then because it barely is now.