Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
Directed by Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim. Starring Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell, William Atherton, Robert Loggia, Twink Caplan, Will Forte, Zach Galifianakis, Jeff Goldblum. (2012, R, 92 min.)
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., March 2, 2012
Ready-made fans of this cult comedy duo’s TV show on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block are likely to be the only ones raring to see the pair's entry into feature-length filmmaking. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s purposely ragtag aesthetics and indefatigable generation of joke premises that have minimal follow-through give the impression of watching sporadically inspired local funny guys on cable access. That’s not meant as a put-down; that’s the tone this pair is aiming for. Viewers approaching Tim and Eric’s comedy for the first time will probably be baffled by their popularity and success. Their Billion Dollar Movie will not win new converts, and their stretched-out routines demonstrate the old saw about less sometimes being more.
However, you have to have a certain amount of respect for guys who have the courage of their convictions – in this case, that means that if a joke seems funny at first, it will kill if riffed to death. So if the characters stopping the action to watch Top Gun is funny, it will be twice as funny if they watch it a second time. The film is dotted with lots of fake commercials and direct-to-the-camera asides that pad out the length of this flimsy plot. It seems that Tim and Eric have squandered the billion dollars they were given to make a movie that yielded only three usable minutes. After threats from their backers (Loggia and Atherton) from the Schlaang Corporation (there’s a lot of mileage to be found in funny names), Tim and Eric decide to make back the money by taking over the management of a shopping mall (co-producer Ferrell from Funny or Die plays the role of the mall owner). An impressive number of other top-billed actors, such as Jeff Goldblum and Zach Galifianakis, also show up for seemingly random duties, but major kudos have to go to John C. Reilly, who invests his mallrat Taquito with enough disgusting mannerisms to be labeled an official health hazard. It’s acting overkill in a movie like this that thrives on its outsider status for its humor. That and fecal onslaughts.See "Take This Awesome Job and Show It," March 2, for an interview with the filmmakers.