Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (2012): 3/10

Whenever I hear of a television show that I like is being made into a full length feature backed by a prominent and respectable studio, naturally I tend to generate interest in it. After all, if someone deemed it necessary to give its creators a shot at the silver screen, then odds are they thought that for a good reason. Namely being that the show has a cult following that is bound to generate a respectable legacy. Oh, and the potential for massive profits too.

However, upon hearing that Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim were given this golden opportunity, I expressed both confusion and amusement. Because while Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is indeed an awesome show, I wasn't really sure why they deserved a chance to bring their warped and nonsensical vision to a mass audience. Seeing as though their show belongs to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim clan, I would have figured that a studio head would have picked a more promising show like Metalocalypse or The Venture Bros., among more qualified candidates. Then I remembered that Heidecker and Wareheim belong to the online comedy troupe, Funny or Die, the brainchild of comedy stars like Will Ferrell and Judd Apatow, that have the ability to bring whoever they want to a big screen. Thus proving once again that it's all about who you know that gets you in high places.

But rather than venturing into high places, I was horrified to see that Tim and Eric had plummeted to a low that, in a way, destroys everything the original show stood for: atavistic, yet expertly utilized graphics, nonsense jokes and annoying noises that were actually funny, and a strong sense of perplexing curiosity that has spellbound a cult audience for years. Going into this film, I knew they were going to incorporate an actual plot that might amount to something, be it a message or just a good time. By the time the fake credits of the easter egg ending rolled, I instead felt that something was taken from me. You see, the reason why the show worked so well was that they were sketches, because that's what Tim and Eric were best at: putting on an 11 minute show that demonstrated their talents as avant-garde comedians. With this film, we are subjected to a severely half-assed version of an already half-assed show, stretched to what seems like an unnecessary amount of time. Sadly, this unnecessary amount of time is actually about 90 minutes.

I am going to attempt to describe the plot as briefly as I can to minimize the painful memories I have of this film. We learn via a narrator that Tim and Eric were given a billion dollars by Tommy Schlaaang (the kind of name you would expect from Tim and Eric's creative prowess), head of the Schlaaang corporation. They instead frivolously blow the billion dollars, so that by the time they had to edit what useful footage they had, they ended up with a 2 minute movie that stars a fake Johnny Depp, and is about diamonds. Furious with the results, Schlaaang does everything he can to threaten Tim and Eric into repaying every last dime that was wasted. In their attempt to do so and avoid jail time, they re-open a failing (and to be honest, beyond all reasonable rescue) shopping mall. To go into subplots at this point would be an exercise in futility and undermine my duty as a critic.

Matter of fact, this movie aims to undermine any expectation a loyal fan of the show may have had going into this thing. Hell, Tim and Eric undermine their own talent as comedians by attempting to pull off a plot they probably knew in the pre-production stages wasn't going to work anyway. And if you're a fan of the show going to trash me with something along the lines of, "That's the point man! Tim and Eric never make sense!" Well, that's sort of my point. Tim and Eric are professionals at not making any sense, and for them to try to bring together an actual plot in their ADD fashion is just not the way to go for their movie. You didn't see the Jackass guys wrap a few stunts around an elementary plot in none of their 3 movies. Mostly because they knew that doing so would be a pointless strategy for the fans of their show.

Hopefully I have driven my contempt of this movie to the point where you enjoyed my painful critique more than you can ever hope to enjoy this movie. As for Tim and Eric, it is fully apparent that they had a blast making this movie, but sadly I can't say the same for anybody who was curious enough to warrant a viewing of this film. And for the celebrities who made cameo appearances, I'm sure they'll survive this relatively low-profile work. But how Steven Spielberg of all people got dragged into this mess, I'll never exactly know, because to a world-renowned filmmaker like him, even an offer of a billion dollars isn't nearly enough to sacrifice his dignity for Tim and Eric's sake.     

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