[Review] – Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

25 Mar

Title: Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
Year: 2012
Directors: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim
Writers: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, with additional writing by Jonathan Krisel, Doug Lussenhop, Jon Mugar
Starring: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Zach Galifianakis, Will Ferrell, Jeff Goldblum, John C. Reilly, Erica Durance, Will Forte, Robert Loggia
MPAA Rating: R, strong crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, comic violence and drug use
Runtime: 93 min
IMDb Rating: 5.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Metacritic: 40

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are the two guys behind Adult Swim‘s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, the sketch comedy television series that ended its run a couple years ago. That show became a cult series, people either absolutely loving or hating the comedic stylings of this very bizarre duo; and the exact same thing can be said about Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, their feature-length effort that’s just like their show, but bigger. And that can be both good and bad with these twisted guys, it’s just that in this film I thought they were too focussed on trying to be super shocking and repelling that they actually lost sight of the actual comedy stuff that should have been included in the bargain.

It’s just an hour and a half of hit-or-miss comedy bits, that’s very much true, and I don’t know whether to consider this an actual film or not, but at least the film turns out to have some kind of plot and structure, something that considering how loose the TV series is wasn’t a given at all. Now, the good thing about this coming from an established property, and one that’s so polarizing, is that you’ll already know whether this is your cup of tea or not. And this is most certainly far from being everyone’s cup of tea, that’s why some of the reviews for this film have been so scathing; not to mention that when you make a film out of a TV show some effort should be put into maybe attracting some new viewers, and this one doesn’t even pretend to try for a second.

So even if I said people will either love or hate Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, I actually find myself falling in the middle of the road with it, not really loving it nor hating it either. I actually watched the television series, and I liked it fine and some bits in it were actually pretty inspired, but those episodes lasted for eleven minutes and that was the perfect amount for those bursts of absurd and surreal comedy, the style and tone that these guys dabble in can get pretty tiring, and I think watching such a prolonged version of those sketches, that were just super tasteless and kooky, gets to be a bit awkward more than once in this film.

Some of the images Mr. Heidecker and Mr. Warheim have conjured here are just so incredibly bizarre, and that they come acted out by such comedy heavy hitters like Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis only makes them cooler. These guys just don’t hold back their insanity it seems, they like this weird kind of humor, they like being such an acquired taste, and they seem like they really love taking the piss out of the many that don’t really find them all that great. But I just think that, even though these guys are the kings of strange excesses, this film was just too much, they went so overboard even by their own standards that some stuff just failed to amuse me. I didn’t think I would ever say this when talking about Tim and Eric, but maybe less is more with these guys, even if “less” for them is ten times bigger than the “more” for most other people.

Like I said, though, this one smartly decides to go for an actual plot instead of featuring many sketches, a plan that wouldn’t have lasted more than half an hour had they gone for it. The plot revolves around the guys enjoying the success the show has brought them, and the fictional Schlaaang corporation deciding to give them a billion dollars to make their first movie, which obviously fails tremendously, so they end up having to find a way in which to repay that enormous debt. And it’s then when they stumble across an ad, put up by a businessman played by Mr. Ferrell, promising just that sum to whoever can revitalize a rundown shopping mall in the suburbs.

Yet even when there’s that narrative that holds a single story line, this still feels like a sketch show, probably because these guys work best in short bursts of ridiculous and surreal self-contained bits. Not to mention that, now being restricted only by the R rating of the film and not by the rules of a network, these guys just go all-in into their boundary-pushing ways, and this time they really achieve some seriously crude stuff, including a scene in which you get alternating scenarios, one of which features a child defecating on a character in a bathtub, and the other being very graphic sex scene. I think that even if you love every other bit in this film, that scene probably won’t do it for you, it’s just too damn much.

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie won’t be for everyone, and like I said, much of it wasn’t for me either, there are countless things that are just plain wrong in this film, but I actually kind of admire their bravery and conviction, as well as how game their big name celebrity cameos were to do these scenes. They could have easily toned it all down while retaining the stuff that made them such a cult series to try and get new viewers and more money, but instead they went to some of the weirdest places they ever have. So that’s why I’m giving this film a recommending grade, because while watching it I felt like I was witnessing something very rare, witnessing two guys get aways with something they shouldn’t have and just laughing about it, laughing about how infuriated they will no doubt have left the vast majority of audience members. And even if for portions of that film I was one of those audience members, I have to give them kudos for sticking to their guns.

Grade: B-


One Response to “[Review] – Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”

  1. Ryan Bond March 25, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Film Discussion Buzz.

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