Synopsis: Tim and Eric are given a billion dollars to make a movie, but squander every dimeâ¦ and the sinister Schlaaang corporation is pissed. Their lives at stake, the guys skip town in search of a way to pay the money back. When they happen upon a chance to rehabilitate a bankrupt mall full of vagrants, bizarre stores and a man-eating wolf that stalks the food court, they see dollar signsâa billion of them. Featuring cameos from Awesome Show regulars and some of the biggest names in comedy today!
Release Date: March 2, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, creators of the “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” sketch comedy show, have brought their bargain-basement style of comedy to the big screen in Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. So, how well does their low-budget humor translate to a feature-length film? Unfortunately, not so well…
The plot of the film is fairly generic – Tim and Eric are given one billion dollars by the Schlaaang Corporation to make a movie, but use the money on things like Hollywood makeovers and a spirituality coach (played by Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover movies) and are only able to make a three minute film starring a Johnny Depp impersonator. Tommy Schlaaang (Big‘s Robert Loggia) is angry and wants his money back at any cost, sending the guys running and into hiding. They see a T.V. commercial featuring entrepreneur Damien Weebs (“Saturday Night Live” alum Will Ferrell), who is promising a billion dollars to anyone who can run the S’wallow Valley mall. Tim and Eric quickly apply for the job, but find the mall in more trouble than they expected, being overrun by homeless squatters, useless stores and a rogue wolf. With the help of the mall caretaker (a crazy man-boy named Taquito, played by John C. Reilly from Boogie Nights) and a few of the more helpful shop owners, the boys put all of their energy into turning the mall around, but the goons at Schlaaang are still gunning for them, and Tim and Eric have to reopen the mall while taking care to avoiding the corporate hit-men.
Those familiar with Heidecker and Wareheim will recognize the style of the film (cheap effects, extreme attempts at humor), but little else. The duo plays themselves in the movie instead of any of their characters from the show, and the film is not a sketch comedy movie; aside from a few commercials that help move the plot along and a couple of insert segments that have nothing to do with the picture, Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is a unified, feature length story; it’s just not a very cohesive one.
Not surprisingly, Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie was written and directed by Heidecker and Wareheim with a little writing help from “Tim and Eric Awesome Show” writers Jonathan Krisel, Doug Lussenhop and Jon Mugar. The writers pride themselves on a certain brand of over-the-top humor, full of non-sequiturs and overall strangeness that works well in the confines of their abbreviated Adult Swim show, but, when presented in long form, struggles to keep the storyline flowing. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie feels like an outline in which Heidecker and Wareheim simply filled in the gaps as they went along, making it up as they go.
Because of their show, Heidecker and Wareheim have a lot of powerful friends; it’s not surprising that there is some pretty big star power in Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. In addition to Ferrell, Galifianakis, Loggia and Reilly, the film also boasts small roles by Jeff Goldblum (as “Chef Goldblum”) and SNL alum Will Forte (as the psychotic owner of a sword shop). All of the superstars come through with flying colors in their roles, but the rest of the cast is not nearly as effective, particularly the inexperienced bit players who are so bad, they actually generate sympathy from the viewer, giving the impression that they were being forced to act in the movie. The film ends up with some pretty uneven performances, which does nothing to help the already weak and gimmicky script. It’s the type of movie that the name-brand stars like Loggia and Goldblum will most likely refuse to talk about in a few years, preferring to forget that they ever took part in it.
Most of the comedy in Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is derived from taking things too far. For example, in one scene, a man is shot so many times that he literally explodes. In another, Tim has his arm amputated and sewn back on just for fun. It’s not just going over the line; it’s completely erasing and redrawing it. The extreme humor doesn’t have the same bite in a movie as it does in a short-jab T.V. show and, given the opportunity to get into a different type of comedy than they’re used to, Heidecker and Wareheim ignore the chance and just keep trying to make the square peg of their absurdity fit into the round hole of a feature film.
At one point, Tim and Eric break the fourth wall and talk to the audience, explaining why a joke that was just told onscreen is funny. Tim admits that they wanted to put a laugh track in but the studio wouldn’t let them, and how the line is, in fact, actually funny. This one scene proves that the filmmakers themselves are aware that the movie is lacking in real comedy, and, sadly, the admission ends up being the biggest laugh in the film. Hardcore fans of Tim & Eric will probably find the movie hilarious, but it will leave the average moviegoer scratching their heads, wondering what the heck they’re watching, and why they’ve sat through so much of it.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Tim Heidecker
- Producer(s): Ben CosgroveWill FerrellTim HeideckerChris HenchyDave KneeboneAdam McKayJon Mugar
- Screenwriter(s): Tim HeideckerEric Wareheim
- Cast: Tim HeideckerEric WareheimJohn C. Reilly Will FarrellDita de LeonWill ForteZach GalifianakisMichael GrossJeff Goldblum
- Cinematographer: Rachel Morrison
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Davin Wood
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: