TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE (2012)
Starring Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Twink Caplan, John C. Reilly, Zach Galifianakis, Robert Loggia, Will Forte, & Will Ferrell
Directed by Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim
Written by Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim
Produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Dave Kneebone, Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim
Cinematography by Rachel Morrison
Music by Davin Wood
Edited by Daniel Haworth & Doug Lussenhop

Hope you've got your wolf-saddles ready kids, because you're about to embark on one batshit crazy excursion.

   I’m just going to make this clear right off the bat: If you are not aware of, or haven’t already seen the Adult Swim network’s appalling (in many senses of the word) program Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, then chances are you are NOT going to like this movie. If you are not a fan of weird, creepy, absurd,  and borderline psychotic humor that intentionally attempts to disconcert the audience, then you will NOT like this movie. If you are more prone to enjoying films such as The Smurfs, or Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, or The Lorax, then you will probably NOT like this movie. I’m just expressing this….let’s call it a “warning”….because from here on out in this review, we are no longer going to be in our comfy, politically correct, morally safe world that we all know and understand so well. We are now dealing with the world as conceived by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. And this world, my friends, is not for the faint of heart.

   That being said, as somebody who has seen the show this film is spawned from and has no problem at all with insane, comically depraved humor, I can safely declare that Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is a flat-out, astronomically hysterical masterpiece. That’s right, I said it – MASTERPIECE! Never before in my life have I seen a movie so uproariously entertaining and so expertly executed by its creators in a purely brilliant exhibition of their craft. The only other movie that can even come close to it by those terms in my mind is – unsurprisingly – South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, another TV-show-to-movie adaptation created by two dudes who knew exactly what kind of movie they wanted to make. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie not only succeeds at what it’s trying to do, but it also completely usurps the previous standards held by the public as to what is acceptable to be shown in films and what isn’t. It tells a more cinematically pleasing story than almost every single movie I’ve seen over the past year, give or take a few. It consistently delivers – in spades – enough humor to last for 10 so-called “comedies” being cranked out by the major studios. Basically, it puts every big hotshot movie director in the mainstream movie business in their place by displaying how to tell an effective story for dirt cheap while utilizing the most obscene, profoundly grotesque humor to do it. Tim and Eric have shown that when it comes to crafting something original, creative, and – most importantly – achingly funny, they can roll up there with the very best of them. You might say it’s a wake-up call for the outmoded and monotonous studio system.

You might also say this sight should be a wake-up call for any rationally sane sleeping person.

   Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (or B$M for short) is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. From pretty much the first 15 seconds of the movie to the after-credits bonus scene, everything about it is so hilarious it’s almost hard for me to believe it actually exists in this universe. Trust me on this one, you have NEVER seen a movie like B$M before. T&E’s humor is mostly derived from highly satirical, sarcastic, and surreal vignettes that highlight the monstrosities of modern-day living, ranging from fake commercials that advertise horrendously shoddy products to extremely awkward encounters with perplexing and uncomfortably troubled people. No joke is too low for Tim and Eric, and believe me brother, when you see the things that happen to the characters in this film….you will understand that. The movie was released on the internet back in January, and is just about to make its debut in theaters on March 2nd. Now very quickly, I’m going to address the background of Tim and Eric, because I’m fairly certain there will be a quite a few out there who have no idea what the hell this shit even is. Tim and Eric are two guys who met in college and started making warped, twisted comedy sketches and putting them on the internet. They eventually landed a show on Adult Swim called Tom Goes To The Mayor, and after that were given a live-action sketch comedy show called Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! which lasted 5 seasons, garnered a devoted fan base, and featured an extensive list of celebrity cameos that is probably much too classy for a show of Great Job!‘s stature. But anyway, onto the review! The premise of the movie is as follows: Tim and Eric are two Hollywood entertainers who are given a whopping $1,000,000,000 by wealthy businessman Tommy Schlaaang (played with extraordinarily maniacal gusto by Robert Loggia), head of the Schlaaang Corporation to make what should surely be the greatest film of all time. Instead, they blow all the money on things such as personal makeovers and hiring a personal shopper/spiritual guru named Jim Joe Kelly (deftly portrayed by Zach Galifianakis), whom they pay $500,000 a week. Once Schlaaang sees the extremely short completed film starring a false Johnny Depp, he declares “I WANT…MY MONEY…BACK!” and that “YOU MOTHERFUCKERS….ARE GOING TO JAIL….FOR WHAAAAT YOU DID!!!!” I can safely say that Loggia gives my absolute favorite performance in the entire film, embuing Schlaaang with a unparalleled sense of unrestrained evil. In terms of classically over-the-top performances, you really can’t get much better.

   Anyway, since they blew all the money and have absolutely no way to pay it back, Tim and Eric go on the run to avoid having their fucking hearts eaten by Schlaaang and his equally evil cohorts. After a coke-fueled night of partying, arm amputation and penis piercing (yes, really), Tim and Eric see a commercial advertising to “one, possibly two men” who are looking to make a billion dollars running a shopping mall. A pretty woman named Katie (Twink Caplan in a surprisingly emphatic performance) appears in the commercial and Eric instantly falls in love with her, a love which he expresses by constantly masturbating to a cell phone image he took from the commercial. With their goal in view, Tim and Eric shed their pristine Hollywood images and become reputable businessmen by establishing their own company called Dobis P.R. and head off to the “historic S’wallow Valley” to run the mall. But, when they get there, they find the mall extremely dilapidated and that the owner Damien Weebs (played to perfection by co-producer Will Ferrell) is a little less trustworthy than he seems. Tim and Eric then set about restoring the mall to its former glory and trying to gain a billion dollars to pay back Schlaaang and save their lives.

Believe me, if you had this guy on your case, you'd desperately resort to mall restoration too.

   The plot is extremely silly, but then again, the entire movie exists as a testament to silliness and general absurdity. The remarkable thing about Tim and Eric is how great they are at squeezing a laugh out of ANYthing – facial expressions, the way lines are read, the way scenes are edited. The thing that makes the movie truly effective is the manner in which T&E establish the world they and the other characters inhabit. Anything goes, and any moment that seems normal can instantly take a turn for the intensely deranged. Just wait until you get a load of John C. Reilly as Taquito, quite possibly one of the most pathetic and uncomfortably hilarious characters to ever be conceived by human consciousness. A visibly malnourished yet wholly loveable man-boy, Taquito has spent his entire life in the mall and lives solely off the frozen microwave taquitos he has lying around his hovel. Irreparably sick from eating nothing but expired taquito meat, he constantly coughs and hacks violently, even coughing up blood at one point (“it’s just natural”, he pitifully quips). I really don’t know how John C. Reilly does it, but he manages to create a sympathetic character out of the otherworldly creepiness and discomforting mess that is Taquito. I have never seen a character so horribly depressing yet played with so much warmth and innocent appeal; I can honestly say this character is among John C. Reilly’s greatest performances as an actor, and a true testament to his abilities. I really do not think any other actor in the world could have portrayed this character…and I doubt that any would have wanted to.

   And while we’re on the subject of great performances, let me just say this: Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie has one of the best comedic casts I have ever seen in any film, and everybody brings their absolute A-game to the table. If anything, this shows Tim and Eric’s strength as directors: two guys who are seemingly unmatched at being able to coax an effectively depraved performance out of their talent….or, in some cases, lack thereof. I have absolutely no idea how Tim and Eric talked some of these people into doing some of the things they do in this movie, and I honestly believe that the majority of the cast in this film give some of their greatest performances ever. Will Ferrel KILLS as the shady Damien Weebs, a creeper who desperately wants to rid himself of the horrid mall he’s stuck with. The scene with Tim and Eric in Weevs’ office is one of my favorite in the whole movie, and Ferrell’s performance in it is gut-bustingly hilarious. I already mentioned Robert Loggia and John C. Reilly, who both commit to their roles dutifully, but there’s also Will Forte, who plays Alan Bishopman, the proprieter of a sword store in the mall called EZ-SWORDS. Bishopman is paid a monthly fee to NOT sell swords, making his existence in a dilapitated mall quite beneficial indeed, and he sees Tim and Eric’s new efforts to restore the mall as harmful to his way of life. Forte plays the character with inspired lunacy, and he makes a perfect secondary antagonist for T&E throughout their trials.

The cast sees an MPAA film rating committee and react accordingly.

   I also want to focus some attention on Twink Caplan, who succeeds at portraying the only relatively normal human being in the entire film. I’d never seen Ms. Caplan in anything before this movie, but after seeing her in it I can definitely say I’d love to see some more of her work. She knocks this performance out of the park, playing the only straight-man (straight-woman, rather) character in the movie. I can’t emphasize enough how much I love this character, and how perfect she is for the movie – she provides a fleeting sense of normality to the zany proceedings happening all around her, and also unwittingly becomes a monkey wrench in Tim and Eric’s alliance by distracting Eric from “makin’ the mooney”, as Tim puts it. Things come to a head halfway through the movie when Eric goes on a date with Katie to a restaurant called “Inbreadables”, where everything from the food to the cutlery is made out of bread. Before this scene, Tim made Eric swallow a pill referred to as a “spanish fly”, and during the dinner it begins to kick in. Eric begins to hallucinate and trip out in a VERY intense manner, and Katie hurriedly takes him to the SHRIM Healing Center located in the mall, while Tim swoops in for a little….alone time with Katie. I won’t give away what happens from here, but I will say that what follows is quite possibly the two greatest scenes ever to be intercut with one another. Never has there ever, EVER been ANYTHING like it in the history of cinema. Whether that is a good or a bad thing….I’ll let you decide.

   I can honestly say that Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is one of the most cinematically pleasing films to be released in recent memory. I will admit, the plot mainly serves as an excuse to have all kinds of crazy shit happen, but the story being told is actually very solid, and there are things at stake for the characters. You actually want Tim and Eric to succeed at their goal, and watching them try to attain it is interesting and entertaining in itself. Events flow into each other naturally, and there’s a definite sense of story structure that’s almost uncalled for in a movie such as this. What I’m saying is, B$M actually works as a movie, instead of just being just a collection of skits strung together. I loved all the little nuances, and how T&E incorporated key elements of the show into the movie subtly yet effectively – the fake commercials, cameos from regular cast members, and the cheap, campy animation. There’s just so much content in the film – the movie’s only an hour and a half long but it feels so much more substantial than that. There are so many little jokes and subtle details that pop out at you through repeated viewings.  In fact, this movie requires repeat viewings, if only to pick up on all the great moments you missed from laughing so hard! I really can’t knock a movie that is so consistently funny throughout and still offers something new every time you watch it – I must admit, I’ve already seen it 4 times and I keep picking up on new things! Replay value of that sort doesn’t really happen a lot these days, and it’s a truly refreshing thing to see.

I would say that this image makes more sense if you see the movie, but that would infer "sense" actually applying to this scenario.

   In translating their show to a full-length feature film, Tim and Eric have somehow managed to capture the same feel and spirit of the show and also create something exciting and truly original. They’ve somehow made a movie which humorously points out the commonplace and overused elements of movies and visual storytelling in general while also providing an experience which lives up to those very cinematic elements in a very satisfying way. I can definitely say that there is NO comedy on the planet quite like Tim and Eric’s. They do what they do, and – hate it or love it – there’s no denying that it is exceedingly original. My friends, I absolutely love Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. I find it to be one of the funniest films ever made, extremely entertaining, and appropriately rebellious in its execution. B$M eschews any conceivable notion of political correctness and generally accepted societal expectations and puts the “What the fuck?!” factor on overdrive, and for that, I cannot praise it enough. Rarely nowadays does filmmaking get this rebellious and brave, and even in a movie with a dude getting his dick pierced in full view of the camera it must be appreciated when it happens. Tim and Eric have created something truly magnificent, and I can’t wait to see the movie again on the big screen when it’s released in a few days!

   So final thoughts? I highly, HIGHLY recommend Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie to anyone with an open mind for comedy and a strong stomach. I’m simply loving the fact that big-time film critics are going to watch this movie and write reviews about it; it is simply a movie which defies criticism. And trust me, this movie is going to get VERY bad reviews. But this movie wasn’t made to appease the stupid critics! It exists to be what it is and is completely unapologetic about it. I’m gonna say for the record that I’ve reviewed this movie based solely for WHAT IT IS, which is a hilarious and deliberately absurd piece of art that exists to be funny, and succeeds tremendously at it. In the grand lexicon of cinema history, will it leave a dent? Hell, probably not, but it’s still a damn fine piece of abstract filmmaking, and I consider it to be a substantial accomplishment in that regard. It’s not a conventional film in the slightest, and just for that alone I consider it to be one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. There are things that happen in this movie that you will not be able to unsee, things that will surely stick in your memory for quite a while. I can say it’s certainly more memorable than anything in Transformers 3 was, or almost any other mainstream movie coming out recently. I really hope that Tim and Eric find a wider audience because of this movie, because they deserve it. I’m just doing my part to spread the word.

And now, I leave you with one final thought:

SHHHHRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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