Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie – Art 3/5 Ent 5/5 Worth 5/5
So, I haven’t laughed at a comedy this much since I first saw Top Secret!. It’s pretty obvious why. I’m a consumer of a wide variety of comedy shows, stand-ups, shorts, internet shock sites and yes, even begrudgingly comedy movies. A consistent attribute in all bad comedy (“good” comedy to the bland masses who don’t know their ass from their elbow and laugh at cat pictures), is that the writers are trying way, waaaay too hard to be liked, or trying to do a drama film that’s unrealistically whimsical. In either case, it’s focus-group driven to make back it’s budget. Well, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, avant garde absurdist surreal humor extraordinaires, have a billion dollars with a capital B, and have no worries of paying back any budget with their Salvador Dali take on ’80s and ’90s public access television and corporate training VHS pastiche. They glean what they find funny in the world and make it into a David Lynch-style escapade of dadaist adventure (Lynch being one of their foremost influences, no I’m serious).
Given a billion dollars of Robert Loggia and William Atherton’s (the bad guy from Ghostbusters and various other films) money to make a movie, Tim and Eric get precisely 3 minutes into it before having revealed they wasted most of their money on spray tans, diamonds and a spiritual guru (Zach Galifianakis). Bummed out, they get drunk, and see on the toilet advertising screen (such as those at Buffalo Wild Wings) Will Farrell advertising a billion dollar deal to manage his wolf-stalked shopping mall. They go outside and look up into the sky to see “Doing Business” studded into a black leather night, merging it into “DOBIS”, the name of their new corporate outfit, complete with office supplies (also visualized in the sky) that will manage the mall. They then run like little girls who need to pee 200 miles to the mall, to the soundtrack of a hearty “two horses” folk song. Once there, a very Andreas Voutsinas-looking Will Farrell makes them watch Top Gun in his office twice in a row, before talking “business”. The adventures continue from there…
That’s pretty much exactly what some of my dreams are like. This may just be the funniest movie, to me at least, that I’ve seen in a very long time. One thing is for sure, I haven’t laughed this much in years. And yet what’s truly unfortunate is that I bet few will connect with the humor. It’s not dry, it’s not particularly witty, but if you’re the least bit fluent in absurdism you know that comedy does not have to be either of those things to be funny, it just has to be bewilderingly, bizarrely goofy. Well, this is the Lawrence of Arabia of goofery.
I am not the least bit surprised to see that the second film to be made from the Adult Swim comedy academy is as deeply divisive as this. I can only hope that Squidbillies the Movie is more warmly received. To illustrate how divisive this film is, look at the amount of votes on a 1-10 scale at Internet Movie Database for a similar film involving Frat Pack/Team Apatow regulars, Superbad, which has most of its opinion cascading upward:
Now look at the spread on Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, with most concentration on either 1 (awful) or 10 (perfect) forming a perfect arc:
I gotta say it, divisive movies are usually extremely good, unless teenagers are the ones voting them up (Twilight, Hunger Games).