Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
11Feb/120

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (2012)

This movie is currently available On Demand now and in theaters March 2nd.

Two sides are at war when I'm watching Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim do their comedic schtick.  They have a clear love and appreciation for the truly weird, not just the shy fringes or the people with slightly off-color tastes, but the people who you can only assume invent new sexual positions using repurposed kitchen utensils when the lights dim low.  I appreciate their willingness to go out on such an extreme limb with them, indulging in each other mutually bizarre fantasies until the comedy and earnestness blend in the strangest "comedy" ever made.

The other half of me sees the repetitive structure behind their jokes and just wants them to move on to the next scene.  There are only so many triple-takes, repeated frames, and extended odd faces I can watch before the routine becomes a tennis match.  True, it will look like a tennis match on the world's ugliest piece of flattened fecal matter but it'll be just as predictable.

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar movie played out between these two extremes to a rigid pattern.  For every fifteen minutes of "how in the hell are they going to top that" comedy there is a matching fifteen minutes of "get on with the blasted point already".  Not that there's much of a point in their comedy other than celebrating the weird, but they're a lot more interesting when they're pushing the limit on what we consider to be funny instead of just making faces for three minutes at a time.

By now you may have already formed an opinion of what to expect from Billion Dollar Movie, but be aware of this caveat.  If you are already not a fan of their kind of comedy there is not a single moment in Billion Dollar Movie which is going to change your mind.  For those folks these may be those most painful eighty (or so) minutes of their cinematic existence.

For the fans, and I count myself among them, it's disappointing because it's just not weird enough.  Taking a quick gander at the screen-shots I've assembled for this review may make the film seem the opposite, but this is not the case.  True, the opening credit and eye calibration sequence features a funny repetition on the word "Schlaaang" which lovingly recalls Monty Python.  Plus, there is a brilliantly strange brew at work in Billion Dollar Movie otherwise we couldn't have the extended clubbing sequence climaxing in a piercing that wouldn't be out of place in Antichrist.

It's not enough to excuse the tedious stretch of thirty minutes that plays through without a single laugh in the center of the film.  Tim and Eric hang around with their celebrity cameo buddies and try to clean up the mall they hope to maintain for a cool billion dollars (to repay the billion they blown on a brilliant parody of art-house and overblown productions).

The boring stretches have to do more with the characters Tim and Eric make for the movie than any lack of weirdness.  They are "Tim" and "Eric", two people trying to be straight-laced businessmen from a pretend PR firm and stand out against the weirdness.  This goes against their comedy and just makes for a long strings of flat jokes and no tension to play off of.  Tim and Eric are rarely the straight guys on their show and making them the adjusters to other folks' weirdness is a strangely incorrect direction to take.

This diffused comedic tension extends to the casting of a number of popular faces in roles laced throughout the film.  Yes, there are wonderful asides from their normal crew of embarrassed extras and unknowing reality bit players, but the likes of Will Ferrell and Will Forte are just too good at being funny to be weird in the way that's needed.  The only one who succeeds in blending in is John C. Reilly, who has the same kind of rapport with the edges of human civility that let's him blend right into their comedy.  Jeff  Goldblum has limited success as well, but his natural oddness is the right blend for Tim and Eric.

Had the film cut out most of the extensive fat in the middle, as well as most of the celebrity guests, and you can upgrade this review to a full "Like".  But there are few people who are going to seek out this film willingly, and the fans who are already excited will have quite the slog ahead of them to get to the good stuff.

Still, a film where entirely new sexual positions are made up on the fly can't be all that bad (my favorite was "The Unicorn").  Maybe I just got too much of Heidecker's tuckus in a g-string for one evening.  Or, as I realize I am arguing, I just didn't get enough.

Ah, perhaps we'll have Tim and Eric's Trillion Dollar Movie to look forward to with the next fiscal crisis.

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (2012)
Written, directed and starring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.

Posted by Andrew

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