There are plenty of strange films shown at the Sundance Film Festival each year, but Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie has got to be one of the strangest. Often, when a TV show with a die hard cult following is given a shot at the big screen, the results can be disastrous. Sure, Borat is great, but Bruno was decidedly not, and Ali G: Indahouse is trite and insipid, and Mr. Show with Bob and David‘s film Run, Ronnie, Run is insufferable to the point of being unwatchable. So do the creators of Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job, which is already an acquired taste, even stand a chance to fill up the big screen and feature length runtime with the kind of movie that even their demented demographic will want to watch? Check out the rest of the review to find out…
Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
Directors/Screenwriters: Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim
Starring: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Will Forte, Robert Loggia, James Quall, David Liebehart
When Tim and Eric squander the billion dollar budget they’ve been given to make a film on a diamond studded wardrobe piece and a Johnny Depp lookalike (also spray tans, designer haircuts, and spiritual advisors), the studio is out for blood. Out on the run, the duo decide to take over an abandoned and decrepit shopping mall in order to try and recover the money they’ve lost. With the help of local weirdos, the pair set out to find success, and maybe even love, in the bizarre and otherworldly shopping center.
- Cameos – Like the TV show, the film is riddled with cameos from people sympathetic to the freakish comedic styling of Tim & Eric. Along with the top billed A-Listers John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell, and Will Forte, Billion Dollar Movie also features cameos from Awesome Show regulars James Quall and David Liebehart, as well as prolific character actors Robert Loggia, Jeff Goldblum, and William Atherton.
- Plot - This isn’t a total sketch film. Although there are more than a few non sequiturs (It wouldn’t be Tim & Eric if it didn’t), it has an actual plot, with a beginning, middle, and end. If it were just non-stop craziness, it would become impossible to watch a lot sooner than it does (unfortunately, it does get difficult about half way through, but we’ll get to that later).
- Unadulterated Vision - This movie belongs entirely to Tim and Eric. It is the same style of editing, nonsense wordplay (Chef Goldblum), and outrageous over the top scatological humor that made them famous. It was not toned down by anyone hoping to broaden the audience base. If you want Tim & Eric, you’re about to get a whole face full of it.
- Runtime – Even at 90 minutes, this movie feels much longer than it should. A regular Awesome Show Great Job episode is 15 minutes long, and that’s usually the perfect amount of time to spend watching these guys’ antics. If you’re a die hard fan, you might be able to watch 3 episodes before your brain starts to feel like a pile of mush. So about half way through this movie, everything begins to feel completely incoherent, even if it is all part of the story. Watching Billion Dollar Movie feels like watching 9 episodes of Awesome Show in a row, even if the math actually adds up to only 6 episodes.
- Where’s my chippy? - Even with cameos from some of the performers from the public access styled TV show, I was really hoping to see Dr. Steve Brule, Casey and his brother, Uncle Muscles, and Chippy. They created a couple of new characters for this, but none are as weird and fun as those from their TV show.
This movie is a lot of fun to watch for the first half, with more than a handful of big laughs. However, eventually, it becomes overwhelming, and not quite worth the effort it takes to sit through it. I’m glad that Tim and Eric got to make this film. These guys are great at making television, and probably have a promising film career ahead of them, but they’re going to have to step out of their oddball shock-comedy comfort zone and start making something different if they want to really make a splash in independent cinema.