The comedy team of Tim and Eric has always produced work that’s as polemic as it is punchy. The result is a hugely polarized audience comprised of either devotees or ardent detractors. The detractors usually cite the seeming randomness and over the top gross-out humor employed by the team as the reason for their ire, to which fans counter with an earnest appeal to simply give their work a second chance. With the release of their first feature length film, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, we see the team meeting the two sides halfway: producing something more sapient and direct than their TV show, yet still giving fans more of what they’ve come to love.
After opening with a few commercials in classic Tim and Eric style, we’re treated to the titular billion dollar movie directed by the pair: a nearly four minute fluff piece starring an ersatz Johnny Depp (billed as the real thing) waltzing through the set of every overblown foreign film ever made and courting his Parisian ingénue. Fin. When it’s revealed that the pair spent the majority of their billion dollar budget on things like “12-course lunches” and “helicopter rides to work,” their financiers, the Schlaang Corporation, demands their money back. After an epic last night bender, including a full monty cock piercing, Tim and Eric hit the road to make their fortune rehabilitating a mall in middle America, renaming themselves Dobis PR, a portmanteau of “doing” and “business.” After the lightly deranged mall owner (Will Ferrel) skips town, Tim and Eric attempt to work together to carry out the Herculean labor of cleaning up a mall infested with drifters, defunct stores, and even wolves.
What’s interesting about Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, in comparison to their previous work, is that the length of a feature film allows them to develop a pretty salient metaphor in a way they normally couldn’t in the fifteen-minute format of their tv shows. Tim and Eric are the everyman stand-ins for our entire generation. The previous generation, like the Schlaang Corporation, has invested heavily in us to produce something great. Instead of producing anything of value, we instead wanted to play at living wealthy. When it comes time to show what we’ve made, we, like Tim and Eric, have nothing to show for our efforts beyond our own memories of being a bon vivant, and so we skip out on our debt and try to generate money the way our forebears did. However, the only thing we have left to sell is ourselves, and we can only hope that somehow wealth will follow.
The film, however, doesn’t pretend to offer any profound solution to the problem, but rather simply invites us to see what we’ve become. The fact that it’s hilarious is really just a bonus.