Every now and then a movie comes along that defies classification and gleefully pleases a small audience of weirdo supporters, while leaving the rest of the world scratching their heads and feeling violated. If you’re a fan of that special brand of outsider entertainment, the release of Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar movie is a cause for celebration. For the uninitiated, over the last 8 years comedians/filmmakers/possible-nutcases Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have built up a healthy cult audience through their twin Adult Swim hits Tom Goes To The Mayor and Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Their style of comedy can be described as something along the lines of Monty Python directed by David Lynch.
They often seem just as happy to make their audience’s skin crawl as they are making viewers collapse in laughter and their big screen debut is no exception. The film is almost impossible to describe, but I’ll do my best. Rest assured that if you want to experience something unlike you’ve ever seen before and get a chuckle while you’re doing it, this movie will hit the spot. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself haunted the next day by images and ideas you laughed at in self-defense the night before.
So what’s it all about? Well, the movie opens with a strange introduction by Jeff Goldblum advertising Schlaaang Incorporated’s new movie theater seats that allow viewers to enjoy films along with intravenous drugs and fresh popcorn with scalding hot butter to “enhance” the experience. It’s got nothing to do with anything, but sets the tone for a film that will follow any perverse digression Tim and Eric damn well please, despite the apparent plot that seems to be holding the film together. Tim and Eric star as fictionalized versions of themselves who were given a billion dollar budget by a gangster to make a movie, but wasted it on a few minutes of a cheap Johnny Depp impersonator in a diamond suit (as well as bleached teeth and diamond-studded facial hair makeovers for themselves). With the gangster played by a particularly vicious Robert Loggia that means trouble and the guy will want his money back. Fortunately, the boys learn that a Top Gun-obsessed Will Ferrell is coincidentally looking for two folks to run his derelict mall and promises a billion dollar profit to anyone who takes the gig. Sure, it features stores that sell swords and used toilet paper instead of music shops and jewelry stores, but people like that stuff. right? What could possibly go wrong.
Confused? Well, you should be. Tim and Eric might be making a big jump from late night TV to feature filmmaking, but they aren’t hoping for mainstream Judd Apatow-style box office success. Nope, these guys are outsider artists determined to be true to themselves. Like their TV projects, there’s no point in trying to intellectualize their work or look for any sort of conventional emotional connection for the audience. Their brand of comedy falls into the great Moe Sizlack’s definition of poster-modernism, “weird for the sake of weird.” These guys write and create entirely for themselves and invite the audience to join them if they dare. You will be disturbed by such sights as penis-piercing, inflatable doll sex, graphic old lady finger chopping, and a teen boy poo-poo based spiritual cleansing process known as Shrim. While the likes of Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Zach Galifianakis, and Will Forte all make appearances, most of the cast comes from the collections of weirdos, freaks, and eccentrics they’ve assembled over the years, so expect to see some amateur acting and faces never meant to be projected on a big screen. If you’ve never experienced Tim and Eric’s unique brand of almost avant-garde comedy mayhem, it’s honestly almost impossible to describe.
Simply put, it’s difficult to predict whether or not you’ll enjoy Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. This is audience splitting love-it-or-loath-it stuff and it’s equally possible you’ll fall into either camp. If you can sync up with their deeply bizarre but thrillingly unique brand of entertainment, you’ll exit the theater elated, exclaiming, “Wow, I have never seen anything like that!” If you can’t figure out what these odd lads are up to, you’ll storm out of the theater shouting, “What the hell? I have never seen anything like that!” Both responses are reasonable and anything that can provoke equally strong reactions on either side has to be considered special. There’s never been a movie quite like this before and until Tim and Eric release a follow up there won’t be anything like it again. It’s a work of bold originality and dirty, twisted imaginations that should be applauded simply for existing. It’s rare anyone gets a chance to take these kind of creative risks on a feature film and god-willing it won’t be the last time that these two unpredictable minds get a chance to take over some movie screens and screw with people’s minds. We need more films and filmmakers like this. You can’t always just have popcorn munching fluff at the multiplex. Sometimes your mind needs to be blown all over your face whether you like it or not.
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