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Tim and Eric Bring the Inane to the Big Screen

11 May, 2012 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Tim and Eric in 'Billion Dollar Movie'

Comedy duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim stopped by Amoeba Music in Hollywood, Calif., May 8 to sign copies of Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, out on Blu-ray Disc and DVD from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

The guys’ absurd, boundary-blurring style of humor is an acquired taste, and they have an equally offbeat group of followers known to show their appreciation in varied ways. The in-store event was no different, as Wareheim was presented with more than enough cannoli after tweeting that he’d trade DVDs for the sweets.

“We love it,” Heidecker said. “For the most part, our fans are very creative, artistic, nice, cool people. … There’s a lot of [Tim and Eric] tattoos out there — a lot of poor choices being made.”

Most of these fans have enjoyed Tim and Eric’s awkward antics via the Adult Swim sketch comedy show “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!” After 50 zany episodes, an hour-long special and two seasons of spinoff “Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule,” Heidecker and Wareheim set their sights on the big screen.

“We felt that we had done everything we wanted to do with that show in that format,” Heidecker said. “We have a great relationship with Adult Swim. We’ll probably do some other show that’s sort of in the same spirit as that show. But we started to feel like we were put in a little box with the ‘Tim and Eric Awesome Show,’ if you can believe that.”

Still ratcheting up their trademark sight gags and inane scenarios, Heidecker and Wareheim knew that they had to go a slightly different route to make the film a success.

“There’s a reason why our sketch show is 11-and-a-half minutes,” Wareheim said.

“We looked at sketch movies, and sketch movies just don’t really seem to work,” Heidecker added. “No matter how funny the ideas are, they sort of get repetitive.”

Billion Dollar Movie finds Tim and Eric in a sticky situation, as the guys have squandered Schlaaang Corp. financier Tommy Schlaaang’s (a ticked-off Robert Loggia) billion dollars on elaborate makeovers, expensive feasts and spiritual adviser Jim Joe Kelly (Zach Galifianakis). After their spending spree, the pair only has enough funds to produce a three-minute movie starring a Johnny Depp impersonator. They face death if they don’t get Schlaaang his money back. Thus, Tim and Eric devise a plan to revitalize the decrepit Swallow Valley Mall, in the hopes of turning a billion-dollar profit.

Of course, madness ensues in the process, in the form of a Prince Albert piercing, a Top Gun-loving mall manager (Will Ferrell), a perpetually ill man-child (John C. Reilly), a fuming sword salesman (Will Forte), a sex-toy-laden romp with a mall regular (Twink Caplan), a roaming wolf, and, ultimately, a gratuitous bloodbath, among other outrageous plot elements.

“We edited it in a very small environment just with our friends, editors and writers,” Wareheim said. “You kind of think you know what’s going to get laughs, but when you screen it, a whole other set of jokes get the big belly laughs and others get chuckles. You never quite know how it’s going to play out, but we knew things like the piercing would get laughs.”

First-time film directors Heidecker and Wareheim were proud of Billion Dollar Movie, despite some of their visions for the project not materializing.

“The original idea for the beginning of the movie with Johnny Depp was originally conceived to be a big A-lister, like the real Johnny Depp or Tom Cruise, but nobody returned our calls, so we were kind of stuck in a corner,” Heidecker said. “It’s a great solution that we came up with, to go with an impersonator.”

Wareheim said the best part of making the movie was seeing viewers’ reactions to the final product.

“For me, it was just being in the theater of people, watching it on the big screen, as opposed to being at home watching the TV show on my couch,” he said. “It’s a much different experience. People put a lot more weight on a movie. You can feel the energy from all the laughs and screams.”

There are plenty more laughs provided in the special features, which includes a commentary, deleted and extended scenes, interviews, a featurette, promo videos, a Shrim screensaver (don’t ask), a poster gallery and two trailers.

“Anything we cut from the movie wasn’t because it wasn’t funny,” Heidecker said. “It just didn’t work in context with the rest of the movie. So there’s lots of funny ideas that we felt terrible about cutting, but it felt less terrible knowing that it would end up on the DVD.”

Now that the pals have gotten acclimated with filmmaking, fans can look forward to the follow-up, Tim and Eric’s Trillion Dollar Movie, which currently is in the works.

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