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Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

Matthew Ballinger 2/8/12 8:49 PM

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 Now there are two types of films that can be made when one wishes to produce a screen adaptation of a television comedy show. The first is your standard Hollywood comedy, which is just like every other Hollywood comedy, except it's starring the characters or plot of the smaller screen. These, almost without exception, are mostly terrible or mediocre.

            The other option is to bend and contort the medium in order to keep the spirit and originality of the show in tact. When attempted, which is naturally much less often than the previous method, the result is usually good.

            For example, “Trailer Park Boys,” which produced two films, attempted both methods, and you can guess which one worked better. The second, which threw out all the glossy conventions of the first, was essentially an extended episode. And it was subsequently much funnier.

            And so it is with “Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie.” And anyone aching for laughs before the film's official release on March 2nd can do what I did, which is to watch it earlier on Itunes for ten bucks. Ten bucks for a film that more or less attempts to make the rest of film comedy seem obsolete.

            The film's format defies any attachment to the “straight” narrative found in the majority of film comedy, and in this vain resembles the show. No, this isn't to say that the film is without a plot, because it certainly isn't, but rather that they don't stay within the confines of any such plot. Disbelief is not just suspended, it is made apparent, and then mocked.

            Tim and Eric is very post-modern in that way.

            Now about that plot. Officially it regards what happens to Tim and Eric after they blow a billion dollars on a film financed by the Schlaaang corporation (their movie is “Diamond Joe,” whose star is not Johnny Depp). They flee to the S'wallow Valley mall whose owner, Will Ferrell, offers a billion dollars in return for running the place, which at any rate is infested with vagrants, trash, and a wolf in the food court.

            But the plot is just a tiny piece of the comedy. The production design is, as always with Tim and Eric, unique, interesting, occasionally freighting, and always sublimely funny. The tacqutor, constructed by their homeless friend Tacquito (played to perfection by their long-time collaborator John C. Reilly), is just one such example.

            All of the stars are here, and by that I don't mean the apparent stars who have cameos (Jeff “Chef” Goldblum, Will Forte, Ray Wise), but rather the Tim and Eric stars, all those recurring extras from the show. They were careful in this, not ready to offend their loyal fans.

            So if you came to the viewing expecting a Tim and Eric experience you shall be re-paid in kindness. What I'm saying is that James Quall and David Hart are there.

            But you don't have to be as ardent a fan of the show as I am to enjoy this movie. Anyone who's looking for a little spice in their cinematic comedy, a fresh experience, needs to check it out.

            I mean, if anything, you can at least appreciate the fact that a billion dollars was spent on it.

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