A Look Back On ‘Beavis and Butt-Head Do America’ – Still Funny After 25 Years?

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996) - IMDb

When I was a kid, I had no idea who Beavis and Butt-Head were. I never really watched MTV, nor did it seem that I was really allowed to. What I do remember was seeing a VHS copy of their first motion picture, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America at age nine, but I had never really watched it, nor did I ever watch the show that it was based on. My first experience watching Beavis and Butt-Head was in high school when I noticed that a neighbor of my dad at the time, happened to have a couple of VHS’ of the show and the movie. I decided to borrow them both. While I cannot remember what my initial reaction was, all I can say is that watching Do America opened the door for my appreciation of the characters and it eventually became one of my favorite comedies, which I like to watch whenever I am in the mood.

Now that the movie is turning 25 this month, I decided to revisit Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. What can I say? I still find this movie funny. I don’t know why, but there is just something funny in how these two characters interact with the world around them and how oblivious they are to the trouble they cause, while constantly thinking about trying to score with babes and listening to rock-and-roll. They are the teens that most parents would try to keep their daughters away from. What is even more hilarious is how they find humor in just about everything, with their iconic “Uh-huh-huh-huh” “heh-heh” laughs that are still imitatable to those who find it funny. Even an innocent key word in a conversation immediately triggers some type of sexual innuendo, which they humorously point out. You could chock it up to just typical juvenile behavior, but it is juvenile behavior that works.

When reviewing Do America, late film critic Roger Ebert claimed that Beavis and Butt-Head was a satire of American youth at the time. He was not wrong, for Beavis and Butt-Head are the image of troublemaking teens who enjoy the pleasures in life, contributing nothing to society and wasting their days away, trying to chase these simple things. The show itself garnered controversy for the way the characters behaved and even received blame for a couple of incidents. Some people even hate them for how stupid they come off, as nothing more than mindless entertainment meant to dumb down an impressionable generation. Yet Beavis and Butt-Head belong with the likes of Wayne and Garth, Bill and Ted, and the McKenzie Brothers as the funniest fictional duo in history.

Do America has the makings of a buddy road-trip comedy where you have two unlikely guys being involved in a plot of murder, double-crossing, and a potentially deadly virus (Yeah, I know.) only for them to be unaware of what is really happening, while everybody else is wondering what they are capable of. In reality, all Beavis and Butt-Head want are their precious TV back after two men stole it from their house while they were asleep. The search for their TV leads them to a motel where Muddy Grimes (Voiced by Bruce Willis) is plotting to kill his wife, Dallas (Voiced by Demi Moore). Yet upon seeing the two walk in, he ends up mistaking them for the two hit-men who were hired for the job and promises to pay them $10,000 to “do” his wife. Of course, being the idiots they are with sex on the mind, Beavis and Butt-Head think that Muddy wants them to score with his wife and they both agree to the job, leading them on a cross-country trip to Las Vegas (where Dallas resides) and Washington D.C. where they cross paths with a kindly old lady (Voiced by the late Cloris Leachman), are tracked down by an ATF agent (Voiced by Robert Stack) and even having a run-in with two Motley Crue roadies who may or may not be their fathers (One of them voiced by David Letterman).

All the way through, Do America is filled with so much hilarity that each scene is comedic gold. I can imagine the laughter that was present in the theater at the time of release (It was successful when it came out). To talk about each moment and joke would be writing an article of the movie as a whole. Yet some of the funniest moments involve two characters; every time the ATF agent finds a suspect, his first instinct is to conduct a cavity search as a testament to his dedication for the job. While my favorite running gag involve Tom Anderson, Beavis and Butt-Head’s neighbor who just wants to have a great camping trip with his wife, only for it to be ruined by Beavis and Butt-Head or some FBI interference.

Besides its non-stop humor, Do America has some great moments with animation. Its title sequence, which is a near-parody of Shaft (Creator Mike Judge even got Isaac Hayes to sing the movie’s theme “Two Cool Guys”) is memorable. Yet its best moment comes from the hallucination sequence when Beavis and Butt-Head are in the desert after Beavis eats a Peyote plant. The animation in that sequence was done by Rob Zombie and was set to his band White Zombie’s song “Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks And Cannibal Girls”. As freaky as that sequence is, Zombie’s animation is amazing!

When it comes to adult animation, the medium can be a hit or miss, especially with how much of it relies on crude, crassness. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is of that variety, but it is amazing that it truly has stood the test of time as one of the funniest comedies this side of animation that still manages to be funnier with each viewing. Your appreciation for this film may depend on your tolerance for Beavis and Butt-Head as a whole! If you are a fan, you will definitely love this movie! I will always continue to appreciate it for just how brilliantly clever it turned out to be. May the goofy buddy comedy live on!

6 thoughts on “A Look Back On ‘Beavis and Butt-Head Do America’ – Still Funny After 25 Years?

      1. Absolutely! Even the more recent series still offered me plenty of enjoyment. Seeing the boys criticise Jersey Shore and the like, and essentially becoming the voice of reason (albeit an immature voice of reason), was surreal, but so fun for me.

        Liked by 2 people

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