Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie | Film review
The Adult Swim stars tiptoe into the waters of moviemaking.
Perhaps as a preemptive strike against skeptical fans ready to accuse them of going Hollywood, TV anti-comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (of Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) have fashioned their feature debut into a cautionary tale about the dangers of selling out. The plot follows Tim and Eric, playing themselves, as they squander a billion-dollar budget on a three-minute movie starring a Johnny Depp impersonator. When studio executive Tommy Schlaaang (Robert Loggia) demands his money back, the boys try to get rich quick by taking over a dilapidated mall populated by hobos, a feral wolf, John C. Reilly as a tubercular custodian named Taquito, and terrible stores like Reggie’s Used Toilet Paper Discount Warehouse.
Some of the jokes are wildly original (one word: shrim); others, like a golf-cart gag straight out of Austin Powers, are as recycled as Reggie’s TP. Given Heidecker and Wareheim’s antagonistic approach to comedy, maybe that’s intentional. The duo certainly deserve credit for refusing to broaden their appeal for a mass audience, but they may have stuck to their televisual roots a bit too closely: Though frequently funny, Billion Dollar Movie is basically just a long series of comedy sketches. (Make that very long: Its 94-minute runtime is at least 15 minutes too many.) To quote an SNL sketch featuring their costar and producer Will Ferrell, I don’t think that legally this qualifies as cinema.