Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
The comic duo’s first film is a brutal satire of Hollywood but sadly lacks laughs
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is perhaps the worst comedy since Tom Green’s Freddy Got Fingered. Like Freddy, Billion Dollar Movie features a cult TV comedy act directing a feature film for the first time, and going overboard with bad taste humour. Unlike the perennially charmless Green, though, we’re left wondering if the usually astute Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have made a bad film on purpose.
For one thing, the plot is blatant in its lack of originality: a pair of showbiz phonies have fallen out of favour in Hollywood, and must set out to prove themselves in the real world. The classic touchstones are all in place: a love interest, a save-the-local-store subplot and the age-old fall out/make up relationship arc of the central duo. In an effort to appeal to the gross-out crowd, Heidecker and Wareheim have suffused this bland storyline with bodily dismemberment, penile mutilation and a bathtub of children’s faeces. These antics are uncomfortable and wince-inducing, but – criminally for a comedy – they rarely raise a laugh.
Indeed, the only chuckles to be had are lifted wholesale from other, funnier films: see Tropic Thunder’s pre-film adverts, or the protracted death of henchman Mustafa in Austin Powers (interestingly, Mustafa was a cameo appearance from Will Ferrell, who also appears briefly in this film). It’s as if Heidecker and Wareheim are trying to draw attention to how unoriginal they’re being, or perhaps even how poor their film is by highlighting superior works that have gone before.
There are other elements that hint at Tim and Eric’s overwhelming disdain for production line comedy – the replacement of a folksy community landmark with a shopping mall, for one thing – and if the film is intended as a viciously satirical jab at Hollywood gentrification, it certainly hits its mark. It just isn’t at all enjoyable to watch.
Showing at Edinburgh International Film Festival on Thu 28 Jun and Sat 30 Jun.