Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie premiered at Sundance this past January and had a short run on video on-demand before it’s limited release in theaters this past weekend.
Before sitting to watch Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie I was aware of, but had never watched Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s Adult Swim sketch series Awesome Show, Good Job! but hadn’t had a chance to see it yet. But after watching the comedy duo’s debut film, I find that I won’t be wasting my mind time in tracking down the series, as Billion Dollar Movie is the most aggressively unfunny, alleged comedy I have seen since I stopped subjecting myself to those Movie movies from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.
Irritatingly, the film does have a premise that suggests plenty of comedic potential. Two nitwits, the titular Tim and Eric, have just spent a billion dollars to make a movie and all they have to show for it is a three-minute short starring a Johnny Depp look-a-like. Their backers, lead by a scenery chewing Robert Loggia, exercise a clause in their contract that will require the pair to repay the billion dollars out of their own pocket. The two on the run from Loggia’s gun-totting thugs and find themselves as managers of a rundown shopping mall as a way to earn the money they need to repay. Now I am sure that there are plenty of hysterical set pieces one could devise from such a scenario with crazy business owners and shoppers that the two could encounter. But that never materializes.
Now I know that humor is subjective, but during the film’s one hour and thirty-three minute runtime I did not laugh once. Not a chuckle. Not a chortle or even a guffaw. This film is the antithesis of comedy, a seemingly endless string of incidents that land with all the comedic grace of the Hindenberg‘s arrival in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Can anyone really find funny a scene where a man is defecated on by a number of ten-year-old boys as a way of detoxing from an overdose of spanish fly intercut with an awkward sex scene between his hoped-for girlfriend and his best friend? This isn’t a comedy, it’s borderline illegal fetish porn. While this might represent the most extreme the movie gets, it is indicative of the overall desperation for laughs that permeates the whole film.
Perplexingly, there are a number of well-known actors who appear in this movie like Jeff Goldblum, Will Ferrell, Will Forte, Zach Galifianakis, John C. Reilly, Ray Wise and William Atherton and none of them give a performance that doesn’t leave you wondering why they are in the movie to begin with. Is it possible that Heidecker and Wareheim have compromising pictures of all these actors?
I very rarely say after a bad movie “Well there’s an hour and a half of my life that I’ll never get back,” as I feel you can never really appreciated good films without having a yardstick of bad films to measure them against. But Billion Dollar Movie just goes off the rails so disasterously that I can’t even recommend it as an object lesson in what not to do when making a movie. At most, I can only hope that you only took a few minutes reading this review and have decided to save yourself an hour and a half of your life with which you can do something more constructive than watch this film.