February 7, 2012

Tim and Eric’s billion dollar review: A ‘Shrimtastic’ good time, if you’re into that sort of thing

By John Wesley Wilson–

Depending on which person you ask, Tim and Eric–comedians famous for their absurdist Adult Swim series “Tom Goes to the Mayor” and “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show: Great Job!”– are either among the most cutting-edge alternative comedians of the last decade or the most untalented goobers that ever walked the earth.

With “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie,” Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker try to take their short form comedy (the typical Tim and Eric show is 11 minutes long) to the big screen with a feature length runtime. While the duo’s style is entertaining, trying to fit it into a 90-minute film seemed like it could be like trying to record a 45 minute long Sex Pistols song. Some art is just meant for the short form.

My worries were compounded by the fact that the movie has an actual plot, a device that Tim and Eric rarely use. They play fictional versions of themselves, who have been loaned a billion dollars by the Schlaaang corporation to make a movie. When the movie flops, they resign to get back the billion dollars through renovating the run-down Swallow Valley Mall, owned by the “Top Gun” loving Damien Weeds, played by Will Ferrell.

The comedic style resembles films like Tom Green’s “Freddy Got Fingered” and some of the more absurd scenes in Louis CK’s sitcom on FX. With tons of gross-out sight gags and goofy noises, Tim and Eric take this style to extremes that most comedians won’t dare go, and the results are often hilarious.

There are some particular highlights with frequent Tim and Eric collaborators, like Zach Galiafanakis and John C. Reilly. Reilly is Taquito, a sickly, slightly-demented man-child who has been raised by the wolves of the mall since he was left there by his mother as a child. Often forcing you to laugh or scoff, he plays the part perfectly. Zach Galiafanakis plays Tim and Eric’s spiritual guide, Jim Jo Kelly. Any time these three men are ever on a screen together, it is an incredibly funny moment. A scene where Tim and Eric try to save Jim from drowning may be the funniest in the film.

This movie isn’t for everyone though. While there is no nudity, there are some scenes of graphic violence (always played for comedic effect), as well as a scene with a particularly raunchy tattoo parlor session.

The hashtag for this movie on Twitter is “Shrim”, a term nobody understood at the time, but is a pivotal in one of the most disgusting, funny and terrible things I have ever seen on film. The scene is so intense that a third of the audience at the Sundance film festival stormed out in disgust.

When asked about whether or not they enjoy these reactions, Heidecker answered, “I think laughter is sort of what we’re going for. I think our fans laugh at things that make other people squirm. It’s fun to watch how different people are.” If your one of those people, “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” is available on all major On Demand video networks and will be released in Theatres on March 3rd.

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Photo courtesy 2929 Productions

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