Thanks to the TV series Tom Goes To The Mayor and Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have quite the cult following and so have decided to move into film with Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. To do so they’ve teamed up with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die, and with cameos from Ferrell, Jeff Goldblum, Zach Galifianakis, Will Forte, John C. Reilly, it all sounds like this should be hilarious.
Sadly it isn’t – or more accurately, it has some very funny moments, but largely it’s just dumb. You get the feeling Tim & Eric are people who know how to make comedy in bite-sized chunks but have floundered when trying to stretch things out to feature-length. The bits that work are essentially slightly surreal sketches within the main narrative, but everything inbetween is either dull, stupid or just plain lazy. It also suffers from the comedy killer that is briefly destroying the characters that have been built up just for a cheap joke.
The basic plot is that Tim & Eric have been living the Hollywood high life after being given $1 billion by the Schlaaang Corporation to make a massive blockbuster movie. Unfortunately due to massive incompetence, they’ve only managed to shoot three minutes of footage. Now they need to get the billion back and think they’ve found a way by heading off to run a dilapidated mall (owned by Will Ferrell), even though they have no business experience. Unfortunately the Schlaaang bigwigs think they’ve absconded and so are on their tail. While Tim & Eric try to turn the mall’s fortunes around, the heavies are searching them out to kill them.
It could have been a decent enough premise, but it really doesn’t work. Tim & Eric’s shorter comedy works due to being deliberately and knowingly bad, but here it’s largely just bad and feels horribly drawn out. The moments when the duo’s knowing edge returns and it’s almost winking at the audience show real promise, such as a bizarre but entertaining promo for a self-help philosophy, and a bit where the main characters turn to the camera to explain why there isn’t a laugh track. The rest of the time it’s just lazy jokes that might have seemed funny when they were writing them, but don’t work on screen. For example, there’s a shop in the mall that sells used toilet paper. On paper that might raise a smile, but brought to life it’s simply ridiculous and couldn’t sustain more than a glancing cutaway gag. Unfortunately we get a whole scene set in that shop.
Ultimately it’s difficult not to escape the feeling this was essentially an opportunity for a group of friends to piss about and have fun on set, with no one really paying attention to what it would be like for the audience to watch.
Overall Verdict: There are a few funny moments, but it’s certainly not worth sticking around for 90 often dim, dumb and tedious minutes for a couple of decent laughs. Tim & Eric can be very funny, but if they want to move in features, they need to do a lot better than this.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac