Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have spent nearly a decade developing their comic voice. And it’s got slightly better since Tom Goes to the Mayor, but often the duo will go weird for a punchline. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. They are – by definition – scattershot, but they have a certain appeal. As someone skeptical of their talents, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie did not win me over. It’s got moments, but it’s about as clever as a Naked Gun sequel. Our review of the Blu-ray of Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie follows after the jump.
The film starts with a jokey opening where Jeff Goldblum (as Chef Goldblum) makes a cameo, and it sets the tone for weird over actual jokes. Tim and Eric (playing themselves, sort of) directed a movie that cost a billion dollars to make, but the money was spent mostly on the directors. They hired a Johnny Depp impersonator for their movie and had him where a diamond jacket made of real diamonds. Their usable footage amounted to about five minutes, so producer Tommy Schlaaang (Robert Loggia) wants his money back. The two try to come up with a scheme and stumble across an ad from Damien Weebs (Will Ferrell), who suggests they could make a billion dollars by running the mall, while Tim falls for store owner Katie (Twink Caplan).
They head to mall and it turns out that Damien was lying. The place is a crap hole, and their only help is Taquito (John C. Reilly), who was raised by wolves and is exceptionally sick. They try to work with the people there, but some – like Allen Bishopman (Will Forte) – like the place the way it is, with homeless people and wolves surrounding them. There’s also the Shrim center, which is run by Dr. Doone Struts (Ray Wise), where people go to get healed. Tim and Eric try to bring the mall back to life, but Schlaaang is after him, and there’s the romance subplot.
It’s said the secret to comedy is surprise, and the problem with Tim and Eric – as comedians – that when you can and will do anything, it’s hard to be surprising. If someone – say – gets shit on by eight young boys, or one of the guys gets a dildo put into his rectum, it’s totally within what’s expected. It may be transgressive, but great acts of shock require an established norm, and with these guys, going to uncomfortable places has no edge, because you know that they’re going to go someplace like that. To put it simply, the anchor fight in Anchorman is hilarious because it comes out of nowhere and keeps escalating, but you can’t really make a whole movie of that and expect it to hit the same way.
Ultimately their material is best served when they’re not the people behind it. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly kill in the film, as does Will Forte, but we expect them to be funny. There are moments, from inappropriate cruelty to a good line reading or concept (Eric steals a man’s child and makes the kid his own), but unless these guys speak to you, there’s nothing going on that makes this more than a doodle of a movie.
Magnolia’s Blu-ray presents the film in widescreen (1.78:1) and in English DTS-HD Master Audio. The film was shot digitally, so it’s a clean port and the transfer is to be as expected. It comes with a commentary by Eric and Tim, and they play it mostly straight, and then don’t. There’s eight deleted scenes (9 min.), and three extended scenes (18 min.) with way more Will Ferrell. ‘Good Evening Swallow Valley’ (8 min.) is a making of, which is followed by an interview with Tim and Eric (22 min.), and a look at the film (4 min.). There’s a ‘Schrim Dance’ screensaver, five promo videos (18 min.), a poster and photo gallery, two trailers, and bonus trailers.