Saturday, June 09, 2012

Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim, 2012)    [6]

I'm not all that familiar with Tim & Eric's TV work, though I have watched it a few times when I happen to flip channels and get to Adult Swim.  What has always intrigued me about the duo is that they constantly are challenging what exactly comedy entails and their work is about how idiotically amateurish it is.  It is something that I think you will either get or not, with those in the latter leaving the theatre in droves, something that the duo delighted in you are to believe web rumors.

In that regard, the film succeeds.  If you don't get it, it's stupid, nonsensical, and gross.  I happen to think it has its intriguing moments but like their TV work, becomes irritating at times.  I don't think you can dismiss this completely though.  The film acts something in the way of anti-cinema, using standard genre, characters, and other tropes of narrative cinema to show how complacent and idiotic the film-going public can be in what they want out of cinema.  In this way, what Tim & Eric have created here brings me back to the works of Warhol and in terms how much they challenge audience expectations of what cinema can be.  Tim & Eric have the good fortune to have enough high-profile friends to work within the system somewhat.

The story here isn't that important.  Tim & Eric, given a billion dollars by a corporate conglomerate, blow it with only three minutes of footage and millions in ridiculous expenses.  Trying to recoup their billion, they come across an ad that just so happens to offer them the same exact amount if they can successfully run a decrepit shopping mall.  The two venture out to find the mall to encounter a wolf in the pizza court, a choleric man child raised by the wolves (a very funny John C. Reilly), a used toilet paper warehouse run by the most dignified character in the film, and mysterious new-age health company.  I don't find this engaging in terms of plot so much as what is happening in between.  The mall acts as a vehicle to allow these two to throw everything out the door.  Sex, family, consumerism, it all gets pilloried in the film.  Beneath its idiocy, it does have something to say about what audiences expect out of narrative cinema and gives those entitled opinions a brown bath.  Yet even for me, the film still veers into territory that can be excessive, especially the Dobis and shrim songs.  Still, credit has to be given to Heidecker and Wareheim for stretching this out to ninety minutes and still making it watchable though next time, more Chef Goldblum.

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