Beavis and Butt-head Do America
By Charles Cassady Jr.,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
MTV spin-off for "mature" lovers of really stupid humor.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Being obliviously stupid, as Beavis and Butt-head are, doesn't exactly uplift them, but it seems to see the boys safely through life-or-death peril (dying in desert heat, Butt-head gets a chuckle out of watching two vultures mating).
Positive Role Models
Beavis and Butt-head are basically the worst MTV-age adolescent boys imaginable (the basis of the humor), and if they do anything "right" it's by mistake (filmmaker Mike Judge doesn't particularly reward the two for their anti-social antics, except that they find their lost TV). Characters apart from them tend to be one-note clods (the law-and-order FBI honcho obsessed with body-cavity searches) or ineffective, like a wimp-liberal teacher. An innocent old man (and war veteran), who seems to represent some notion of traditional American decency, gets repeatedly inconvenienced and persecuted.
Violence & Scariness
The introductory dream sequence is a parody of giant-monster movies, with colossal-sized Butt-head and a fire-breathing Beavis stomping through a city and withstanding army artillery. A massive car pileup on the freeway is caused when B&B fall out of a trunk. An extra dies from a germ-warfare weapon. Guns are pulled on the heroes. Fantasy-drug hallucination with characters as rotting rock-and-roll skeletons.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Plenty of sex talk and innuendo, about "scoring," and "sluts" and masturbation. The only sexual activity actually shown is between a pair of buzzards, but women in skimpy clothing with big "hooters" appear from time to time. Butt-head chuckles over purient connotation of words like "hole," "wood," "unit" and "cockpit." The folk song "Lesbian Seagull" is performed, and Beavis and Butt-head misunderstand the hit-man jargon of being paid to "do" people, male or female.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"Damn," "hell," the s-word, "Jumping Jesus!," "God-damned," "bastard," "slut," "schlong," and, of course, "butt-hole."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
At the height of Beavis and Butt-head fever there were themed-video compilations ("Work Sucks," "Christmas Sucks"), and Beavis and Butt-head books, buttons, masks, a video game etc. Heavy-metal music gets promoted in the movie, with AC/DC and Metallica T-shirts as basic uniforms for the duo and Motley Crue reverantly mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beavis ingests an old woman's Xanax prescription and freaks out; he also experiences a "trip" by eating desert peyote cactus. Underage and grownup alcohol drinking (including while driving).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this cartoon-feature spinoff of the Beavis and Butt-head MTV cartoon finds its humor in bad role models -- two loutish, ugly, TV-addicted, heavy-metal boys fixated on sex (which they never get to have, though there are plenty of masturbation references), and shallow thrills. Expect innuendo, about "scoring," and "sluts" and gag imagery of big-breasted women (onscreen sex only happens between consenting birds). References to homosexuality include the song "Lesbian Seagull." Beavis gets high with both prescription pills and desert peyote cactus. Both kids drink alcohol. Language is at PG-13 level, mainly with double-entendres and variations on words ending in "-hole." There's cartoon violence, mainly in silly fantasy scenes (an opening with B&B as Starsky and Hutch-level cop heroes). FBI and authority figures come across as clueless or ineffective. Young people watching may be encouraged to view more Beavis-Butthead antics in the original short-subject form, which sometimes had animal cruelty and pyromania (less prominent here).
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Based on 8 parent reviews
One of the greatest comedy films ever made.
Report this review
good for adults, terrible for 17 and below
Report this review
What's the Story?
This was the first feature outing for MTV cartoon characters Beavis and Butt-head -- actually caricatures of the worst-case-scenario of the channel's music-video fans: two unsupervised, low-IQ, no-achieving boyhood pals with limited vocabularly who mainly just sit and watch TV and categorize everything they see into "cool" or "sucks." Here Beavis and Butt-head (both voiced by creator Mike Judge) wake up to find their precious television stolen. Going door to door at a motel in search of some way to see Baywatch, the duo are mistaken for bargain-rate assassins by a redneck weapons-dealer (Bruce Willis), who gives them plane tickets to Las Vegas to "do" his treacherous wife (Demi Moore). B&B, naturally, assume their job is to have sex with the woman. Their trashy target fools the boys into proceeding cross-country towards Washington D.C., fugitives from an FBI team hunting a top-secret germ-warfare agent that has been secretly sewn into Beavis' shorts.
Is It Any Good?
Beavis and Butt-head are probably better suited for tweens than their R-rated (and smarter) live-action counterparts, the drug-fixated Harold and Kumar. Parents and teachers hated early Beavis and Butt-head cartoons, which had animal cruelty, setting fires, and other anarchic behavior as crudely animated (if sometimes hilarious) gags. Filmmaker Mike Judge, with later work like King of the Hill and The Goode Family, proved he could do (he-he, we said "do") subtle, quirky, and touching humor on human nature, and if you judge these two characters by that standard it's clear they're not supposed to be glorified heroes in any traditional sense. Yes, they're OK in the end, but they never "score," they learn nothing, and the movie kind of suggests that the whole society is on a treadmill to idiocy too; these guys just got there first.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the appeal of Beavis and Butt-head. What makes these louts funny? Where is the line between funny and offensive?
What other characters in TV and movies are meant to be laughed at for their stupidity? Which characters are the funniest? Which ones miss the mark?
- In theaters: December 20, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: September 12, 2006
- Cast: Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Mike Judge
- Director: Mike Judge
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 81 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: continuous crude sex-related humor and language, and for a drug-related scene.
- Last updated: April 28, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate