**1/2 (out of four)
When “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” isn’t funny, it’s really not funny. Like, Eric-sitting-in-a-tub-while-boys-fill-it-with-poop not funny.
When it’s funny, it’s terrifically deranged—like when a job interview begins with the interviewer demanding to watch “Top Gun” all the way through. Twice.
This sideways humor will feel familiar to fans of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s Cartoon Network cult fave “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” of which I’ve seen a few episodes and about which I’m very on the fence. Same with the movie, which finds Tim and Eric struggling to repay their financier Mr. Schlaang’s (Robert Loggia) budget after the $1 billion Schlaang gave them to make a movie results in a 3-minute clip starring a Johnny Depp impersonator. In desperation, Tim and Eric take over a failing, wolf-infested mall from an unbalanced businessman (Will Ferrell) who runs a commercial promising $1 billion to anyone who can turn the mall around.
It’s blatantly obvious why the film caused a stir and inspired several walkouts at Sundance: Not everyone cracks up at a store that sells used toilet paper and Tim distracting himself from responsibility by getting high and cutting his arm off. (Don’t worry, it’s sewn back on.) So a very limited audience may find every second of “Billion Dollar Movie” awesome. Many will hate the entire thing.
As this absurdity connects only with a particular sense of humor, I’ll say that I laughed at Will Forte playing a sword salesman who’s paid not to sell swords. I was just uncomfortable watching John C. Reilly as a disturbingly ill man known as Taquito who is left in the mall as a child.
Still, compared to walking out before the movie ends, leaving a screening after this type of nonsense feeling relieved, semi-amused and not angry counts as a win.
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