Review: Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie


Diarrhea jokes, wacky editing, and peculiar looking extras that appear as if they just got out of a methadone clinic: Yup, this is still Tim & Eric.

You either love or hate these guys. If you’re not sure which yet, Billion Dollar Movie isn’t a good place to start for a variety of reasons. Mostly because it’s long and not very funny, but what do you expect from a duo who have made one of the most consistently entertaining 15-minute shows on Adult Swim? They keyword being “15”.

As you may have suspected, B$M is mostly filler and shriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiim!

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
Directors: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim    
Rating: R
Release Date: January 27, 2012 (VOD), March 02, 2012 (Theatrical)

I can count the amount of good films based on TV series on one hand and most of them are reboots of series long gone (Mission Impossible, The Addams Family). With the bad taste of Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s abysmal theatrical debut still in my mouth, I had low expectations for any other Adult Swim show to successfully make the transition to the big screen, including my favorite comedy series.

Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is defined by the duo’s sense of humor rather than any specific characters or recurring skits. David Liebe Hart, Steve Brule, and James Quall are lovable guys, but they wouldn’t be anything without the brains of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.

The two embody the absurdest humor of Monty Python while channeling it through parodies of commercialism in the ’90s. There isn’t anything brainy about it, but there is a craft, imagination, and artistic intent that makes their show a lot more than just “random shit.” If you get the things that they are referencing, you understand the brilliance and clarity of Tim & Eric’s vision. Not that I sit with a fine bottle of wine while I watch the show, but Tim & Eric are capable of great things. Like making a full length movie. Maybe?

While B$M has a handful of skits reminiscent of the TV series, they are far and few between. I wouldn’t say B$M is focused, by any means, but it has a narrative. Tim and Eric have just made their billion dollar full-length debut, except they only managed to salvage three-minutes of footage into a nonsensical opening credits scene. With their budget wasted on diamonds, the grossest cosmetic makeovers ever — imagine Billy Ray Cyrus, Paula Dean, and an Oompa Loompa thrown into a blender; NIGHTMARES! —  and accidentally hiring a Johnny Depp impersonator (instead of the actual actor), Tim and Eric are in desperate need of some funds.

What better way to make a billion than to renovate mall in the middle of nowhere? After seeing an ad on TV offering just that, Tim and Eric start a PR firm and make their way across the country. Meanwhile, the investor of Tim and Eric’s movie (played by Robert Loggia) is out for their blood, chasing them down with a goon squad armed to the teeth. The film’s opening act hints at a Pee-wee’s Big Adventure sort of cross-country road trip, but things grind to a halt once the duo reach the mall. The film just meanders and eventually ends, all while hitting predictable notes.

In the context of a 15-minute show of random vignettes, it’s hard to tell how much of Tim & Eric’s humor is ironic or not. Are they parodying Pauly Shore or are the channeling him? Are they making fun of making fun of poop jokes or do they just really love the scat? When stretched to 90 minutes, Tim & Eric’s humor becomes weak and transparent. Not that it’s impossible to carry the fever dream-like pace and atmosphere of the TV series, they just don’t even try.

A lot of this has to do with Tim & Eric walking on familiar ground. As a massive fan of the show, I can say the last two seasons haven’t been the best. They are running out of jokes and they keep repeating old ones with half the fervor. This is exponentially true of B$M which milks such familiar scenarios as hyperactive infomercials, diarrhea, and restaurants too ridiculous to ever exist (okay, that one will always be funny). The film does have its moments, but it peaks early with an opening that you won’t soon forget.

Along with some old gags in a new context, some familiar faces play new characters in B$M. Will Farrell, Will Forte, and John C. Reilly all have a good amount of screen time but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Farrell and Forte are on auto-pilot, while Reilly just crashes and burns. It’s not all bad, however. Loggia and Ray Wise both play some very creepy old men that wouldn’t be out of place in a David Lynch film. You’ll laugh out of fear of them, if not their subtle comedy chops.

I always considered Adult Swim to be Snick, that old Nickolodeon late-night programming block, for adults. So it only makes sense that some of its popular shows will get theatrical versions in time. I wanted B$M to be a Good Burger, but instead it’s more of a Hey Arnold!: The Movie. Instead of capitalizing on the humor and style that makes me love Tim & Eric, B$M meanders and relies on sub-par comedic performances propping up a dull, predictable plot. If there is one thing Tim & Eric should never be it’s predictable.