Midnight Show Vibe in ‘Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie’

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – The midnight movie show, popularized by “Rocky Horror,” always needs new candidates. The raunchy, hit-and-miss “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” is fresh midnight meat, stamped with “love” from Tim Heidecker and Eric Warheim of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim (”Tom Goes to the Mayor”).

The pacing, narrative – if it can be called that – and literal stabs at humor are awkward and stupefying, but it is so freaking bizarre and so anti-everything that it succeeds at a level that only Tim and Eric, and possibly you, can understand. This makes it perfect midnight movie fare, mind altering and luscious at that magical hour, with hangover inducing shame to follow. There are parts of the movie that are simply either too stupid or too extreme to digest, and there are parts that are funny in a way that is psychologically invasive. The good news is that no one will ever be able to compare it to anything else.

Tim (Tim Heidecker) and Eric (Eric Wareheim) are media moguls who are given a billion dollars to create the next Hollywood happening. This leads to an excessive lifestyle that puts the film on the back burner for the duo, but they do manage to squeeze out a five minute test reel that features the main character wearing a suit made all of diamonds. No wonder the investors, led by an angry Tommy Schlaaang (Robert Loggia), literally want to kill the duo.

Tim Heidecker (left) and Eric Wareheim in ‘Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie’
Tim Heidecker (left) and Eric Wareheim in ‘Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie’
Photo credit: Magnet Releasing

Distraught on what to do next, and despite advice from their spiritual advisor Jim Joe Kelly (Zach Galifianakis), the boys see an ad for a job running a failing shopping mall. Upon arriving they find a ghost town of broken consumer dreams, desperately being run by Damien Weebs (Will Ferrell), and populated by questionable shops, the homeless and a mysterious mall rat named Taquito (John C. Reilly). If they can get the mall up and running again, maybe they can pay back their billion dollar movie sin.

Reading the description, which includes the comedy heavyweights, probably would convince anyone to give it a shot. Therein lies the madness. If there is any familiarity with the Tim and Eric oeuvre (which includes the sketch series “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”), then there is the knowledge that this film can go off the rails at any moment, both in a way producing anger and in the “laugh riot” sense. The wonder of the Tim and Eric perspective is how it marches not only to a different drum, but inside a whole other cosmic dimension.

Where the film fails for me is in its obsession with bodily parts and fluids, with the associative “jokes.” These scenes take up a bunch of story time, are mostly sophomoric and most fatally, have been done before by lesser wits. The “shrimming” cure, popularized by Dr. Doone Struts (Ray Wise of “Twin Peaks”) is a long, pointless meander with a unhealthy male pre-pubescent fixation. Yep, it’s shocking, but in the end it flunks the funny test, and goes on too long.

But the risk can also be the reward, depending on perspective. The film has an end-of-the-world nihilism, almost daring the viewer to reject it out of hand. It has balls in what it wants to portray, and with that sheer f**k-you attitude it’s certainly a curative for what is passed off as entertainment these days. The next time you are stuck in an “American Idol” or “romantic comedy” crap-tacular loop, pop in the “Tim and Eric Billion Dollar Movie” and get real, brothers and sisters. In a Catholic sense, it will provide you with some penance.

Will Ferrell (Damien Weebs) Takes Aim in ‘Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie’
Will Ferrell (Damien Weebs) Takes Aim in ‘Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie’
Photo credit: Magnet Releasing

The cameos and the cast seem either in on it or interestingly clueless to the joke. My personal favorite was William Atherton, who portrayed the a-hole TV reporter from the first two “Die Hard” movies, in a role as Earle Swinter. He is on Tommy Schlaaang’s hit squad, and in assessing his performance probably thinks he’s in a different movie. His final comeuppance in the picture will either generate death bed pride or salvation for the actor, kudos to Billy.

Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Zach Galifinakis, Will Forte (hilarious) and the legendary Twink Caplan (Katie) will either fold like a fetus or laugh uproariously at the critical slams they will receive today, all in the name of there’s no business like show business. As the old saying goes, it’s Tim and Eric’s world, we just live in it.

Where do we go from here, how do we survive the onslaught of the billion dollar picture? Well, “Titanic” is coming out on 3D next month, and “The Hunger Games” opens in a few weeks. The American film-going public can breathe a sigh of relief after receiving Tim and Eric’s cinematic eye poke. The not-too-distant future can anticipate a full medal jacket, cult film status, opening at midnight at a grindhouse near you, at a location yet to-be-determined, that is now a multiplex of our hope and dreams.

“Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” continues its limited release in Chicago on March 2nd. See local listings for show times and theaters. Featuring Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim. Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Zach Galifianakis, Will Forte and Robert Loggia. Written and directed by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Rated “R” Click here for the HollywoodChicago.com interview of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2012 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

ziggy one of the best's picture

Tim & Eric

I wish I did not has to give this one any stars Its’ should be call A billon dollar bomb!!!

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