Magnolia Pictures // 2012 // 94 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 23rd, 2012
A billion dollars just doesn't go as far as it used to.
Tim and Eric, two cult figures who have been hanging out on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, bring their bizarre antics to the big screen with Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. Also starring Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, John C. Reilly, and "Chef" Goldblum, this cult adventure is now available on Blu-ray care of Magnolia Home Entertainment.
Tim Heidecker (playing himself) and Eric Wareheim (ditto) have been given a billion dollars to make a movie. Unfortunately, the dim bulb duo have squandered all of their assets on a three minute short along with various assistants, 10-course meals, and makeovers which have resulted in mean orange tans and nuclear white smiles. Their financier is Tommy Schlaaang (Robert Loggia, Big), a tough as nails old coot who gets monumentally pissed when he finds out the boys have produced a horrible short no one wants to see. Threatening them with personal death, if they don't pay back the billion dollar investment, Tim and Eric attempt to manage a dying strip mall. The idea came to them after seeing business huckster Damien Weebs (Will Ferrell, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) in a commercial promising anyone who comes in to his mall managing business will walk out a billionaire. Of course things go from bad to worse, when the boys realize the mall is not just dilapidated but depressingly dangerous, filled with odd sick characters (John C. Reilly, Step Brothers), and a ravenous wolf. Can Tim and Eric repay Mr. Schlaaang a billion big ones before it's too late? Will they be able to survive the horrors of consumerism? And after seeing Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, will you ever be the same again?
I knew going into this Tim and Eric were an acquired taste. What I didn't know was that by "acquired taste" the filmmakers actually meant "grossly unfunny." It may not be the worst movie of the year, but it's most certainly the least funny.
Humor derived from the bizarre and awkward can work -- as evidenced by the wonderfully weird Napoleon Dynamite -- but it's a very fine line to walk. Done correctly, it can make me laugh for two straight hours. Horrendous miscalculations like Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie revel in absurd abstract jokes that don't make sense or aren't remotely amusing. Does watching a man graphically get his penis head pierced sound like a real gutbuster? How about witnessing a middle aged woman and a flabby guy wrestle around with strap-on dildos? Maybe a man with moldy pizza Velcroed to his body while being attacked by a rabid wolf does it for you? No? Join the club. Every one of Tim and Eric's "jokes" ring flat and hollow, because a man rubbing his nipples while making strange facial expressions is only funny if it's in the context of something...anything!
Most of the humor in Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie is supposed to be so dumb and bad that, in some weird way, it comes back around to being hysterical; somehow transcending its unfunny nature. Sort of like when a B-movie is so terrible it becomes enjoyable. But that doesn't ever happen here. Every stab at comedy, every lackluster gag, feels like it needs to be put out of its misery.
There's no commenting on Tim and Eric's performances; they don't create characters as much as formulate bits that hang in the air like a dying fungal spore. I could see the possibility of these two being funny in a film with sharp writing and a clever plot, but certainly not in Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. At one point, an old woman (playing the mother of one of the main characters) gets her finger graphically cut off, blood spurting all around her. Why is this funny? Because old women usually don't get their fingers cut off in movies? Uh-huh.
I'm clearly not in on whatever joke Tim and Eric are playing. The entire movie feels like one long Saturday Night Live sketch that never finds its footing. The story can hardly be called a narrative. This plot device has been used in countless movies where the writers are too lazy to come up with anything else to hang their jokes on. Having successful faces like Will Ferrell, John C. Reiley, Will Forte (as a crazy sword store owner), and Zach Galifianakis (as a fruity guru) in the film doesn't feel like a necessity as much as a pompous statement, as if to say "See! If these big name stars like Tim & Eric enough to be in their movie, there's NO reason you shouldn't find the movie HYSTERICAL!"
The movie's nadir arrives when Tim -- or is it Eric? Does it matter? -- lays down inside of an old bathtub while young children "scrim" all over his body (if you guessed that "scrim" means defecate, you win!) so he cane bathe in it. Twenty years ago, the humorous shock value of this scene would have been enormous. In 2012, it's just sad and desperate, summing up how poorly constructed the movie is. This reminds me of Adult Swim's Aqua Teen hunger Force, which also turned in a feature film and proved that some things are a lot better in fifteen minutes sprints than two hour marathons. I've never seen Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and I won't be seeking it out anytime soon.
I'd like to end this review on a positive note by stating Robert Loggia is alive, well, and still making movies. Good for him.
Presented in 1.78:1/1080p high definition widescreen, nothing here is exceptional; the image doesn't offer much pop, but the colors are bright and clearly defined, while the picture is clear and blemish free. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix is passable, but rather basic; since the film is mostly dialogue driven, much of the action comes through the center channel. There are some nice moments where surrounds are utilized, but it's used rather sparingly. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included for those you prefer them...but they don't make the jokes any funnier.
Bonus features include a commentary from Tim and Eric, some deleted scenes (all of which deserved their fate), a few extended scenes with more improv, a grating interview with the boys, a couple featurettes ("HDNet: A Look at Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie," "Good Evening S'Wallow Valley"), a screensaver, some promo videos, a few posters from the marketing department, a photo gallery, and two trailers.
Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie may attain cult status, but not because it's a good movie. The jokes are anemic, the plot is insipid, and they boys are two of the least funny people to make a movie.
I wouldn't shell out a nickel to see this again. Guilty!
Review content copyright © 2012 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Extended/Deleted Scenes
* Photo Gallery
* Official Site