Monday, February 6, 2012

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (C)

To those who are unfamiliar, or actively dislike the comedic style of duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, it may be the best course of action to immediately stop reading this review. Unless you are a fan of their equally bizarre and unique sense of humor, and as result willing to accept a severe lack in narrative structure, it can be safely assumed you will find the film to be abysmal cinematic garbage. Plainly put; for those not amused by bizarre humor, this film will feel like karmic punishment for a crime you don't remember committing. Many will seek this film due to promised cameos by the likes of Will Farrell and John C. Reilly, but will quickly realize their involvement in the film is minimal, with screen-time lasting under ten minutes. Let it be known immediately that I am not one of those people. A newly converted fan of their Adult Swim TV show Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job, I was mainly interested in Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie to see the comedic stylings of these two gonzo comedians unfiltered and brought to the big screen (or at least VOD) without the mandatory limitations of broadcasted television. While I was essentially granted this request, it quickly became apparent that no matter what conditions there might be, you can always have too much of a good thing.

Starring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim as buffoonish versions of themselves, after squandering the one billion dollars given to them by the nefarious Schlang corporation, Tim and Eric resolve that the only way to pay their debt is to manage a dilapidated mall more desolate than the shopping center from Dawn of the Dead. Is there any more plot? Yes, but plot couldn't possibly be less important when regarding this film. Characters are either static or included for cameo purposes entirely, setting is used only as an excuse for dark comedy, and any conflict is executed too intentionally ridiculous to be even the slightest bit compelling. Tim and Eric have developed an unrelenting surreal comedy machine with their film: jokes are the only goal, and nothing is included unless it services the jokes. However, without any true plot, how can any comedy film sustain a runtime of 93 minutes and remain, if nothing else, fairly entertaining? The unfortunate sad answer to this question is, it can't.

Despite multiple hilarious scenes, the film inevitably runs out of steam around the hour mark, and never fully recovers. The odd jokes are still there, but because of the rapid rate necessarily of them to allow this film to function, you are completely overwhelmed, and the humor slowly fades away in a subtle decrescendo. Tim and Eric previously orchestrated two TV shows named Tom Goes to the Mayor and the previously mentioned Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job, which both used runtimes of 15 minutes so that the comedy never became stale or tiresome. While admittedly there're still some truly hilarious moments to be found, perhaps this comedic duo should continue in this shorter television format until they can develop a "real" plot to assist their unique humor in its leap to the silver screen.

Grade: C

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