Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie tells the story of two men who are given a large sum of money to make a feature film, only to waste the majority of it and churn out something utterly dreadful. Well, in real life Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have actually been given money to make a film, and the result? An utterly dreadful movie. It’s tragically ironic.
Tim and Eric are given a billion dollars by the careless and rather rich Tommy Schlaaang (Robert Loggia), only to see his investment wasted as the pair spend much of the money on themselves and only have enough left in the budget to produce a three minute film that features a Johnny Depp look-a-like. Tommy isn’t particularly pleased with Tim and Eric and files a lawsuit against them in an attempt to recoup money they simply don’t have.
Tim and Eric therefore decide to take a failing shopping mall off the hands of Damien Weebs (Will Ferrell) with the intention of re-opening the store and making enough money to pay Tommy back what they owe. However, such a plan doesn’t prove to be as easy as they had envisaged, as they find it difficult to get customers, and the downtrodden pair are made to rue their past mistakes.
Before the picture properly begins we are shown the three minute feature that Tim and Eric produced, which sets the film up well. Although this doesn’t prepare you for the actual content that transpires, in what is arguably one of the worst films you’ll have the displeasure of watching this year. To begin with, it’s simply not funny. At all. The first ten minutes are watch-able, but beyond that we enter a dreary and uncomfortable level of tedium as their initial oddities are no longer new or surprising and once we get used to the absurd and eccentric nature of their humour, the cracks begin to appear.
The feature simply isn’t original enough, despite being unusual. There are jokes that are palpably lifted from other productions, such as the trapped vehicle scene from Austin Powers, and the whole pathetic middle-aged men with ideas above their station theme is too similar to Step Brothers – rather than Prestige Worldwide, Tim and Eric come up with ‘Dobis’. As for the opening gag of having countless production company titles at the beginning of their movie, that too is a joke straight out of Family Guy.
In a sense the actual premise holds some potential – the idea of two men making a film within a film could be intriguing, and there is a definite attempt at trying to be satirical, but it quite simply doesn’t work. To be satirical you need to have a clever, witty script, but this is merely vulgar and offensive, simply for the sake of being vulgar and offensive. Close-to-the-edge comedy only works if cleverly implemented and with a meaning behind it – like in South Park for example, or Ted even. I consider myself to have a high tolerance, but some of this is just wrong. So, so wrong. There’s this one scene where… No I can’t. My mother reads these reviews.
One of the biggest disappointments within Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is the horribly embarrassing cameos from quite respected and talented comedy performers. Joining Ferrell are both John C. Reilly and Zach Galifianakis, although none of the three are actually credited with a role. That’s a wise move – although sadly the same can’t be said for agreeing to appear in this movie. It’s head-in-your-hands bad and when actors you actually like get involved it’s fair to say you feel almost betrayed.
Absolutely ridiculous and bizarre, Tim and Eric are certainly creative, albeit completely bonkers. If there is one almost-positive to be taken away from this film it’s that at least they looked like they had fun making it. Probably more fun that for those watching. Dare I say it, but I think Tim and Eric have actually deliberately made a really terrible movie. Something of a strange motive for film makers, but does it excuse the end product at all? Sadly not.