‘Tim and Eric’ hit the silver screen

By Drew Hunt

Fans of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (better known as Tim and Eric) have reasons to celebrate as “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” (shortened by Wareheim and Heidecker to simply “B$M”), is currently available via Video on Demand.

The film’s loose, barely-there plot—it’s got something to do with Tim and Eric operating a decrepit and mostly abandoned mall in order to make a billion dollars to pay for the movie we’re currently watching—is merely a placeholder for a series of semi-connected bits, much like their “Awesome Show, Great Job!”

These sequences prompt a number of reactions. Sometimes the film is screamingly funny, occupying a unique space between the surreal and the absurd. In other instances, the depths to which Wareheim and Heidecker plummet is enough to make you question your own sanity, let alone theirs. But mostly, “B$M” is a quixotic quest to squeeze in as many dick and poop jokes into a 94-minute window as humanly possible.

Because the narrative is so laxly assembled, the focus is set on creating images of pure abstraction with occasional elements of satire peppered in for good measure—an opening skit featuring Jeff Goldblum (playing a character named Chef Goldblum) hawking a highly intrusive theater seat takes well-deserved jabs at the increasingly conceptualized nature of moviegoing.

But before long, the lack of craftsmanship makes for an arduous experience, especially when Wareheim and Heidecker pile on the inanity. From the consistent and cartoonishly graphic violence to dementedly sexual sequences set in hotel rooms and porn shops, “B$M” nearly redefines exasperation. There’s a good reason episodes of “Awesome Show!” are only 10 minutes long.

If this were anything other than a “Tim and Eric” joint, “B$M” would be something of a travesty. The film is vile and profane to well beyond the “nth” degree in addition to being visually unappealing, noticeably devoid of the pseudo-analog aesthetic of their TV show.

However, it’s safe to assume that Wareheim and Heidecker’s film is intended to be an exercise in provocation. Without the barriers of television censorship, the full gamut of their comedy zealously spills onto the screen. Nothing is off limits in “B$M,” including Wareheim’s giant, prosthetic penis undergoing a Prince Albert during one of the film’s more unnerving interstitials.

Wareheim and Heidecker seem to be challenging their own limits, as well. At times, the film feels like a critique on comedy itself. “B$M” dares its audiences to laugh as opposed to merely asking it to, and even if it doesn’t always work, there’s a distinct method to this madness.

Wareheim and Heidecker aren’t concerned about the quality of their movie—or its humor, for that matter. There’s nothing inherently funny about anything in “B$M,” but that’s precisely the point. The artfulness is in the artlessness, like a neo-Dadaist examination of the nature of perverseness. When considering this, the film quickly becomes something of a masterpiece, the perfect midnight movie for people who laugh at David Lynch films and draw moustaches on bus ads.

By that same token, “B$M” is ultimately useless as a piece of cinema, thanks to the deliberate contrarianism of its makers. Wareheim and Heidecker can’t have their cake and eat it, too—although, if given the chance, they’d likely turn the cake into some sort of phallic symbol before doing so.