Unfitting Unmovie: Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

(Billion Dollar poster)

Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (2012.01.27, Funny or Die Films, Adult Swim Films, 2929 Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions, Abso Lutely Productions, distributed by Magnet Releasing)

Among the professionals and comedians that took the chance in a large cast: Zach Galifianakis (The Candidate) as the guru/shopper Jim Joe Kelly, fired over being paid half a million dollars in salary, follows the duo “in spirit” (also turned into yet another ultra-bad/weird presentation); Will Forte (McGruber) as the foul-mouthed, threatening and backstabbing sword salesman Allen Bishopman; Ray Wise as Dr. Doone Struts; Palmer Scott as Shrim God #2; William Atherton as Earle Swinter; the rather-aged Robert Loggia as Tommy Schlaaang, main head of “Schlaaang Corporation”; and Bob Odenkirk’s voice for Shlaaang Corp.  Michael Gross also narrated.

The feature opens with with “Chef” (Jeff) Goldblum, introducing the audience to ‘the ultimate movie-going experience’—a device that injects chemicals into your arm, calls for your legs and feet to be elevated as if you’re at the gynecologist, and features a built-in popcorn machine and automatic hot butter dispenser—third-degree burn risk on display.

The feature within the feature (within a feature), …features a fake Johnny Depp in a diamond-encrusted jacket, saying hi to the townspeople, saying bonjour with no accent, meeting and kissing a beautiful women.  “The End,” roll credits.  Tommy Schlaaang, among those in the screening: “I paid a billion dollars for this piece of shit?!”  It didn’t take long for me to see the bad timing in the execution of this film; they stretched forty-to-sixty minutes of material into 94 minutes.

Tim Heidecker: this is what happens when you give Tim & Eric a billion dollars.

Good point.  Their characters blew the money on diamonds, including giant diamond rings, worn on the hand (the physical weight of actual diamonds that large would hurt).  The fact of “money blown” would be spelled out at the beginning and the end.  (The actual budget for the entire movie was $3 million.)

The result: B$M is one of those movies with few good ideas, bad ones stretched thin, and weak delivery throughout—with the exception of Taquito (John C. Reilly as the dying man-child) and professional actors delivering infantile lines.

Compare this to their Adult Swim series.  Awesome Show, Great Job! works in its twelve-minute format.  Even the hour special—a TeleThon-like spoof—worked.  This full-length feature does not.  Besides the same-old use of James Quall (stand-up comedian at the entirely-bread restaurant), Robert Axelrod and David Liebe Hart (ultra-bad/weird Workplace PR videos) and other “less attractive” actors for weird effects (as seen in the TV series), they took advantage of the ‘R’ rating by loading the film with language.  And automatic-weapon fire at the end somehow causes people to explode.

The movie’s so unserious on point and inner-childish that grading it is difficult.  Only the likes of the A. V. Club gave it a good rating (B+).  Roger Ebert, a fan of the TV series, gave the movie half a star (out of four)— a rating too low for B$M to make the list in his Your Movie Sucks review books.  Its general grade: D.

Out on Disc

The whole DVD is about three hours, and it’s a long three hours, especially with the extended version of the “business meeting” where the owner of a mall (Will Ferrell as Damien Weebs) gets the duo to watch Top Gun with him, repeatedly, continuously, and through the night.

There would be some truth in the Special Features of the disc (©2012 Magnolia Home Entertainment), a disc laced with “funny faces,” dissolved together, and a pattern of: a toilet paper roll (to reflect Reggie’s Used Toilet Paper Discount Warehouse), a popcorn kernel/lemon (something), a wolf (to reflect the man-eating wolf inhabiting the S’Wallow Valley mall) and a pizza slice (Taquito made a pizza vest to lure the wolf).  While the Deleted/Extended scenes make it clear that the original, lengthy content is more suited for Funny or Die (on the web and HBO), the long defecation (“Shrim healing”—children submerging Eric in a tub), masturbation (Eric to Katie, played by Twink Caplan, knowing nothing about her) and rubber penis-piercing jokes made it into the movie.

On an “upside” (still bad), the “interview” entered territory that may get you to laugh (besides laughing at or for sake of the person who decided to rent the disc).  And before that, Eric Wareheim, in the ‘making of’:

“I hope people come away with the sense of hope after this movie.  I hope it inspires them to do good, to spread peace and love throughout the world; to grab a friend, hold their hand, get a stranger, close, tell them you love them; throw a dollar over a hobo and say, ‘here’s a little hope— I was inspired by Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie’; take a son in, and say, ‘now you’re my son, because I watched Tim & Eric in Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, and the movie inspired me to do that.’  And that’s all I can ask of the audience.”

It’s certainly not a good thing when you have mixed feelings about Wareheim’s statement, beyond the intended joke.  To instead come away with the hope that you could easily do a better job at this movie (or any movie), and also have the feeling that the bar has been lowered—that the general production quality is probably going to get worse.

But then again, this is work for the “less attractive” actors out there.  At least Tim and Eric are hiring them… there is heart behind the scenes.

The real world is falling apart; this movie is a reflection of that world falling apart.  It makes you want to get serious.  That, my friend, is a reason to watch it.

(This review was more or less finished on the 16th…I had other things to review.)


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