By: Addison Wylie
Pardon me while I digress for a moment. When I read a Joblo Movie Emporium review for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the review started with the critic stating that, “Humour is subjective. What is funny to one person may not necessarily be funny to another.” Those words have stuck with me since reading them in 2004.
Right out of the gate, you should know which camp you fall into. You either like the comedy of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim or you find it incredibly annoying. If you’re unsure and you’re watching the duo’s first movie on a whim (or a Shrim?), you’ll know from the very first shot.
The first shot of Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is a blue title card that explains what you’re watching has been brought to you by the Schlaaang Corporation. If the word “Schlaaang” has made you laugh, the Comedians have you hook, line, and sinker. If you don’t laugh, well, the next 94 minutes are going to be an excruciating endurance test in immaturity.
Tim and Eric play an over-the-top, fabricated version of themselves. The two wingnuts have been given a billion dollars by the aforementioned Schlaaang C orporation to make a movie. However, after spending lots of funds on new trendy looks, hiring a spiritual guide named Jim Joe Kelly (played by Zach Galifianakis), and buying real diamonds for a diamond suit for a Johnny Depp impersonator to wear in their film (you got all that?), the rest of the money has been used to make a product that isn’t releasable.
Unbeknownst to Tim and Eric, a fine line in the contract they signed states that the Schlaaang Corporation, if not happy with the final product, can ask for the money back in full. Saying that Tommy Schlaaang (played by Robert Loggia) and Earle Swinter (played by William Atherton) are not happy is the definition of an understatement.
In order to pay back the two studio heads, Tim and Eric see a job opportunity on TV. If they can run Damien Weebs’ mall, Weebs (played by Will Ferrell) will give the caretakers a billion dollars. However, running the broken and dirty mall may be harder than the two goofballs expected.
So, reviewing the film, I feel I must tell you I fall into the pro-Tim and Eric group. I think their brand of absurdist comedy is hilarious, I like the awkward editing and the deadpan readings, and I was thrilled but skeptical when I found out they were making a full length feature film. Thrilled because Heidecker and Wareheim have shown great directing potential in music videos and in their Adult Swim show Tim and Eric Awesome Show! Great Job! . Skeptical only because they’re expanding their comedy from 11 minutes to 94 minutes.
I liked Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. It stayed true to their bizarre sense of humour and it was really funny. In fact, I was out of breath many times from laughing so much. That said, because of the abundance of bodily fluid jokes and the excessive use of the f-word, I can recognize this may just be the most juvenile film ever made by adults for adults.
What helps the film is that the plot isn’t complicated. This way, their odd sense of humour punches out more; and, boy does it ever. There isn’t a line drawn in the sand as to how far these two will go. The fact that both Heidecker and Wareheim are not only the stars but also the Screenwriters and Directors makes that line inexistent because no one’s telling the other to “reel it back”.
Having this be the duo’s first feature film venture, it’s understandable they don’t want to half ass anything, they want to please fans with weird jokes, and they want to abuse the R rating to the fullest. At the same time though, having this ridiculousness take on a new duration, the two should keep in mind that it does help to have boundaries. Maybe every other scene or so, the surrealism should descend to allow the audience to breathe. That way, when the film kicks back up to “11”, it doesn’t seem repetitive.
The jokes that really worked for me weren’t necessarily the limit pushing bathroom humour but rather the jokes that poked fun at training videos and infomercials. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie starts off with a hysterical segment featuring Actor Jeff Goldblum playing a character named CHEF Goldblum. He’s trying to teach the audience how to watch the following film in the state-of-the-art Schlaaang theatre chair. The procedure gets more and more outrageous as it goes along making the results very funny. And, if you thought the instructions for the chair were funny, wait until you hear how you calibrate the thing.
These moments successfully nail its satire and while you watch Tim or Eric do something weirdly sexual in the next scene, you howl but you constantly and eagerly await the next spoof.
It’s a tough film to convey to other people through text (and once you see the film, you’ll understand). It’s a film that is solely made for their fans and I’m pretty sure that was Heidecker and Wareheim’s intention.
The best way to describe it is to picture a gross out comedy directed by David Lynch. So, therefore, I must reiterate. If that intrigues you or you’re a fan of Tim and Eric, you’ll more than likely have a blast. If you fall outside this camp, you may find that a Shrim cleansing may be more bearable.