WHAT DO A PIZZA-EATING WOLF, a bathtub filled with human feces, old ladies getting their fingers cut off, near-pedophilic interest in young boys, and John C. Reilly all have in common?
If you can’t think of anything, don’t worry. Until a few days ago, the answer was nothing.
Now, however, every item on this list can be found featured prominently in Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s new full-length film, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. The movie, which debuted last Friday, promised all of the incredibly quirky, stutteringly glitchy, and insanely inappropriate humor that has turned the duo into cult heroes, and it delivered in spades.If you’ve ever seen Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block of programming, then you can already imagine at least a portion of what’s in store with B$M; the sketches you already know and love provide a good approximation of the offbeat plot points and awkward wrinkles that populate the movie.
Their first big screen foray follows the pair playing themselves as a couple of self-obsessed, untalented Hollywood hacks who blow a billion dollars of thug/movie studio owner Tommy Schlaaang’s (Robert Loggia) money. In a completely pig-headed attempt to earn back the capital to repay the murderous Schlaaang, Tim and Eric head to the fictional S’Wallow Valley to revitalize a semi-deserted mall.
The film is loaded with cameos, the execution of which run the gamut from mildly successful, like Zach Galifianakis’ turn as spiritual guru Jim Joe Kelly, to slightly unexpected and humorous, such as Will Ferrell’s take as a lying and eccentric mall owner named Damian Weebs.
For those unfamiliar with Tim and Eric’s unique brand of comedy, the film might come across as a gut-punch—breathtaking, shocking, and painful. That would be more the result of the twosome’s severely eccentric style, however, and not for a lack of laughs to be found in the movie. Clearly, the pairing hasn’t made many concessions with hopes of reaching a wider swath of potential moviegoers.
All of it adds up to 90 minutes of a semi-coherent story laced with gags and jokes that you definitely wouldn’t want to watch with your grandmother. But no one claimed this was going to be the comedic equivalent of Schindler’s List. Heidecker and Wareheim thrive in the reaches of lowbrow humor—and in that sense, B$M is definitely a success.
Probably a result of Tim and Eric’s still burgeoning talents in the full-length feature writing field, the film feels a bit like a few Awesome Show sketches stitched together loosely by the flimsy plot. It will definitely appeal to die-hards, but if you aren’t privy to Tim and Eric’s comic delivery methods going in, then you’ll likely be left in the dust.
Consider the sequence during which Tim and Eric find themselves auditing the remaining businesses in the mall and come across a shop called Reggie’s Used Toilet Paper Discount Warehouse. Beyond the gross-out factor of someone owning a recycled toilet paper outlet, the scene reveals that Heidecker’s character possesses a rather unnatural affinity for young boys. In one of the strangest moments ever captured on film, he actually co-opts Reggie’s son, Jeffrey, and informally adopts him as his own, relegating Reggie to the role of “uncle.”
The discomfort is beyond palpable as the scene unfolds. But it’s important to keep in mind that shock value is never the end goal for Tim and Eric—it’s merely a by-product of their personalities as writers.
The funny bits aren’t necessarily those that make your jaw drop. Instead, it’s the absurdity of these situations continuing to unfold onscreen that will have you gasping for air. In a few instances, I actually laughed harder after leaving and having time to reflect on certain sequences than I did while watching the movie in the theater.
Is the movie abrasive? Yes. Is it ridiculous? Yes, absolutely. Is it funny?
Well, that all depends on who you ask. At the end of the day if you get it, you get it. And when it comes to B$M, I love it.
Previous installments of “The Verdict”: