Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

It's not that Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie is bad. Okay, let me start over. It's not JUST that Tim and Eric's Billion Movie is bad, because it is very, very bad (maybe even terrible). But it's bad in a very odd, very specific way that I'm going to have to spend the rest of this review trying to pinpoint. If you want the quickest possible version: I judge a comedy by how often and how hard I laugh, and in this I was giving a half-hearted chuckle MAYBE every 20 minutes.

Quickly recapping the plot: Tim and Eric (a pair of sketch comedians mostly known for being on Adult Swim) are playing casually evil versions of themselves, who are given a billion to make a movie by another casually evil corporation. When they only make 3 minutes worth of movie they are sent on the run from the corporation and attempt to recoup the money by taking over a failing shopping mall.

There's probably a funny premise in there, but the movie doesn't just mishandle it, it seems determined to mishandle it. The primary purpose of the piece is extreme shock and surrealism in comedy form, but it doesn't seem to be willing to work it into any recognizable order or to try and string it together. Constant shock and weird things happening get boring very, very, very, VERY quickly and the film is unwilling (or unable) to try and structure a working joke (IE setup, build, punchline).

So once we get past the constant stream of random garbage being flung at us at high speed, we're left with a movie with no real jokes. It's one thing to make random crap and surreal oddities work in a sketch show (go watch A Bit of Fry and Laurie for a masterclass in this) but to make it work in movies takes a deft touch and it DOES require that you stop occasionally to give us some context, or make someone the straight man (see: Life of Brian or maybe Anchorman). If EVERYTHING is weird and EVERYTHING is random then there's no baseline and it just becomes dull.

But it's not just that they just throwing stuff at the wall and saw what stuck. There are a few concepts that are actually funny. And the duo seems to have figured out that they were funny, because they stretch them out and repeat them to the point where I can't remember why they were funny in the first place. One that particularly annoyed me was a sequence involving Will Ferrel and John C Reily which is initially amusing but keeps getting extended and extended until all trace of humor is lost.

But then Billion Dollar Movie commits the cardinal sin that separates merely bad random-shit comedies like Epic Movie and LEGENDARILY bad random-shit comedies: It crosses the line and goes from random to disgusting. Amidst the weirdness, bad comedy and annoying running gags they manage to include a couple of truly revolting sequences that turn this one from merely bad, into the kind of nether regions where you find such disgusting offerings as Freddy Got Fingered.

I suppose it goes without saying that if you're a fan of Tim and Eric's Awesome Show: Great Job!, that you should go see this, because if you're a fan, you've probably already seen it and dismissed my review once I got done with the first couple sentences. But if you're not and you're in the mood for a movie that makes Anchorman look like PG fucking Woodehouse, then go ahead and ignore this review. But if you're looking for my advice, avoid this movie like the fucking plague.

Elessar is a 22 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he thinks that Jeff Goldblum should know better.

2 comments:

  1. If you don't understand/appreciate their "A step too far" humor, or even their humor on taking overused movie cliches/scenes and showing how ridiculous they are, then sorry, but you obviously aren't the intended audience. Especially if you didn't like Freddy Got Fingered.

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  2. As you know (Without divulging my secret identity, I was right next to you Mr. Arenor), I thought this movie was HYSTERICAL. But greenearth2, I believe you give Tim and Eric too much credit. IMO, they are the mass media equivalent of a man with Down Syndrome dressed as Augusta Longbottom from Harry Potter ramming themselves repeatedly into a wall whilst the Benny Hill song plays. Nothing highbrow or ground breaking. I just happen to LOVE it haha.

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