Sundance 2012 Review: ‘Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie’

'It’s like Pee-wee Herman without the whimsy. That's just weird and gross.'

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


I guess Tim and Eric’s sense of humor is just not for me. It should be though. I love irreverence, fourth wall breaking, satire. In Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, I just feel it’s lazy, going for the vile grossouts. It reminded me of The Jerky Boys Movie. Not right for film.

There are some funny skits in the film, which makes me think a Kentucky Fried Movie style sketch film would work. But they try to force these skits into a plot, and they don’t care about the plot. Tim and Eric waste a billion dollars on a fake movie, so to pay back the gangster investors (Robert Loggia and William Atherton!) they take over a run down mall and build it back up.

Man, these “we need to raise X amount of dollars by X date” movies sure are getting old. A kooky mall movie with fake stores? That doesn’t seem to fulfill the promise of meta avant-garde sketch masters making their first feature. The Simpsons has hilarious fake mall stores in every background. Used toilet paper isn’t funny, it’s just gross. And Shrim Spa, really not clever at all.

It’s not so much irreverence as contempt. Tim and Eric just dance around and make faces, and they don’t finish words sometimes. They seem more angry than goofy. Irreverence is when the comedians don’t care. This is more like they’re saying "Eff you." It’s like Pee-wee Herman without the whimsy. That’s just weird and gross.

I guess if this is not your type of humor, it’s very aggressive for 90 minutes. Penis piecing, anal sex, slobbering over food and hacking up blood (John C. Reilly plays a particularly repulsive caricature). It’s not edgy or original. They do naked fights, but Borat did that in a real hotel, so you can’t take a step back and do it in a fake scenario.

The bits that work are when they really break the fourth wall, and they do this both with cutaways and with Tim and Eric themselves breaking it.  They lost me after 10 minutes but they got me back whenever they did an instructional video. Then they lost me again.