Mark Reviews Movies

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie


˝ Star (out of 4)

Directors: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

Cast: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, John C. Reilly, Twink Caplan, Will Forte, Robert Loggia, William Atherton, Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis

MPAA Rating: R (for strong crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, comic violence and drug use)

Running Time: 1:33

Release Date: 3/2/12 (limited)

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Review by Mark Dujsik | March 1, 2012

At a certain point, our dullard duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (who wrote, directed, and star) break the fourth wall, turn directly to the camera, and explain half of a joke they just told (It's about the play on "soft" and "hard," they say, forgetting, apparently, to mention the comic "Rule of Three" that precedes it). "We wanted a laugh track," one of them (Despite their obvious physical differences, their identities really are interchangeable) concludes, and, even though that statement is also meant to be ironic, I agree with it. Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie is an exercise in comic nihilism that needs to prompt the audience to laugh, and, if there were indeed a laugh track accompanying the movie, at least someone would be laughing—even if only on a recording.

One can only suppose the purpose of the movie is to put off the audience, much in the same way the intrusive movie theater seat that Jeff Goldblum (referred to as "Chef") introduces at the very start of the movie within the movie. That brings us to the minimal plot and the one somewhat amusing gag that starts this tiresome affair. Tim and Eric were granted a billion dollars to make a movie for the Schlaaang Corporation (Ha?). They blow some of the money on a man with a vague resemblance to Johnny Depp (Ronnie Rodriguez) but whom the pair believes is the real deal, a Paris backdrop, and a giant diamond that's used as a prop.

The movie runs about five minutes, with about half of that spent on studio logos and credits; there's maybe 30 seconds of movie. By comparison, the actual movie surrounding the joke has maybe a few minutes more.

The head of the company (Robert Loggia) is infuriated by the results and wants the money back. Unfortunately, the large majority of the cash went toward Tim and Eric living a lifestyle of Hollywood excess, complete with plastic surgeries, stylists, an expensive life coach (Zach Galifianakis) who has magical powers for no reason except that there's no reason for him to have magical powers, and piercings (The movie gives us a long look in close and medium shots of Eric getting a genital piercing (using, we assume and hope, a prosthetic), which is the first of a few reasons why the MPAA's decision to give this an R rating is a bigger point of offense than anything in the movie, especially considering the ratings board's tendency to overreact to naughty words).

While using a club's bathroom (Why, you may ask: only to have Eric walk over to his partner in crime without ceasing urinating), the two notice an ad promising a billion dollars to run the failing S'Wallow Valley Mall (Tee-hee?) and decide that this is the way out of their financial predicament. The current owner (Will Ferrell) would rather watch Top Gun (Three times, natch) than explain the problems. These include his disgusting son Taquito (John C. Reilly) who takes up residence in the boiler room and keeps hinting that he will inevitably die soon, stores like a used toilet paper shop (Tim decides to raise the owner's son (Noah Spencer) as a further way to insult him) and a spa that cleanses people in young boys' diarrhea (euphemistically called "shrim," which, of course, gives us a useful euphemism to describe the movie itself), and a random wolf.

In case one hasn't figured it out yet, the movie is entirely about the absurd. It's based, in part, on a television show created by the "comic" duo that apparently revolves around a collection of on-the-cheap video projects assembled into the content of a fictional TV network (The show is unseen by me—a fact that will remain so for the foreseeable future, if only because of this movie). Some bits of the sort, such as Tim and Eric's newfound company's training video and a series of "lessons" to be gleaned from the movie, exist here; they are as useless as the narrative itself.

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie imagines it's pushing boundaries of taste (I've purposely neglected to mention the company head torturing Tim and Eric's mothers and the over-the-top bloodshed of the climax) and comic sensibility. Ironically, the two use the most basic "rules" of comedy and an adolescent mindset to do so, which only serve to make this foray into the bizarre as tedious as it is antithetical.

Copyright © 2012 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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