Leave it to Jeff Goldblum to show up in back to back films on my blog, all be it in this film he is playing a parodied version of himself called Chef Goldblum, which if this joke is not enough to give it away, the film in question is none other than Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar movie. Existing in a world fueled by what has to be some lethal combination of weed, Four Loko and Adderall, one cannot take this absurdist comedy at its face value. This film runs the on what constitutes laughable content, displaying everything from banal toilet humor to high brow metacomedy, breaking the fourth wall at times to explain the jokes. This film was clearly off putting to people and imaginably so because there is some admittedly grotesque stuff throughout, almost always relating to bowel movements or desecration of human orifices, yet what I found more surprising were peoples condemnations of the comedic duos decision to create a coherent narrative for their film, something any non-fan of Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job would find ridiculous because their film is definitively lacking in logic. I, on the other hand, do not find the film to be perfect, nor even close to idea, however, I cannot deny it as being one of the better post-modern comedies I have seen to date, as well as offering a fresh consideration on comedy and the nature of audience accessibility. Furthermore, I have heard interviews with Tim Heidecker in which he admits to a comedic method that always emphasizes finding the limits of audience thresholds, something which clearly succeeds within this film. I found myself laughing at the most absurd moments, often at the lingering quality of joke delivery or the repetition of a joke in its fourth or fifth manifestation, Time and Eric seem to adhere to a philosophy that if the joke does not work the second or third time, it will surely work the sixth. It would be awful under the execution of any other comedic setting, yet knowing the particular methods of the actors in question it all seems so right and proves watchable, with the exception of one or two bawdy jokes.
Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie begins with a film within a film, in which their artistic masterpiece Diamond Jim has just been lambasted by studio executives who are enraged by what they see to be a complete waste of a billion dollars. The Hollywoodified Tim (Tim Heidecker ) and Eric (Eric Wareheim) are initially dismissive of the producers anger and only realize their lack of money and act solidified by their firing of Jim Joe Kelley (Zach Galifianakis). Yet, after a night of drunken foolishness and semi-sober enlightenment the two see opportunity in revitalizing the S'Wallow Valley Mall, an idea witnessed while the duo are relieving themselves in a urinal. After literally running to the mall in question they meet up with the current owner Damien Weebs (Will Ferrell) who after a double viewing of Top Gun agrees to place the mall in their hands, along with the assistance of the sickly Taquito (John C. Reily). Their existence at the mall is not initially welcomed, least of all by sword shop owner Allen Bishopman (Will Forte). Despite trebulations and trepidations, the duo find success bringing the mall back to life, all the while Tim finds an adoptive son, literally stealing a boy from his father, while Eric seduces a female employee of the mall. All is not without climax between the business partners and the two double cross one another in the name of saving the mall, an act that leads to a fist fight and near immediate act of forgiveness. Yet, the two cannot forget that they are also tied debts from their previous film, which leads to a shoot/slash out in the parking lot of their mall, one in which the duo is victorious. The film then ends, revealing that it was yet another film within a film. The larger work proving successful, at least to their friends who appear magically within the screening.
This has most of the tropes and tricks of the television series, whether it be the jibberish dialogue, the Everything is Terrible style editing tricks or the complete disregard for political correctness, yet, much to my surprise, Time and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie does appear to have a identifiable social commentary. The setting of the film is no accident, this loss of malls and community sustainability is a very problematic thing occurring within The United States. Many anti-capitalists lament the presence of malls as money machines, oppressing those within them, which is quite true considering the standpoint of the consumer, yet so many of these places are major employers in communities and their loss means a heavy damage to a local economy. While mostly used for dramatic effect, the desolate nature of the mall as well as its surrounding land manages to reemphasize the destructive wake of a failed mall upon a community. Furthermore, while the film, ultimately, mocks possession of wealth, particularly in the duo's owning of a billion dollars worth of diamond, yet incapable of comprehending their use in getting the mobsters off their back. However, the little vignettes of the distraught employees throughout the film are not accidental depicting people struggling to survive in a retail business that needs purchasing power to thrive, a time so grim and disparate that it drives one man to literally give up his son in the name of job security. The tough economic times of the past year come shining through in this film and manage to reconsider another section of society overlooked by film spaces, probably because they are so inherently comedic in a desperate kind of way, of course making a perfect target for Tim and Eric style comedy. Hell even if none of the social statements were intentional, it still serves as a great piece of escapism.
Key Scene: The initial DOBIS explanation tape pretty much assures that their is no turning back from absurdity of the film and while latently awful manages to be hilariously post-modern.
Rent, Rent, Rent. It is on Netflix, but wait till the wee hours to watch it, the film is textbook Midnight Madness.