Anyone interested in an early visit to Purgatory is directed to this excruciatingly unfunny, frequently repulsive movie, an expansion of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s cult sketch comedy. There’s a plot of sorts—the two stooges have wasted a billion dollars they were given to make a movie, and when their investors (Robert Loggia and William Atherton) demand the cash back, they undertake to raise it by taking over the management of a derelict mall.
Friends of Tim and Eric contribute their talent to the picture, with unhappy results. Zach Galifianakis shows up as their avaricious guru, Will Ferrell as the place’s sleazy owner, Ray Wise as a weird self-styled healer and Will Forte as the ill-tempered owner of a sword shop. Jeff Goldblum pops up in one of the phony commercials that interrupt the action. They’re all badly used, but the most embarrassing stuff is certainly handed to John C. Reilly, who’s frighteningly good as Ferrell’s eerie nephew Taquito, a perpetually sick man-child who inhabits the place.
The first hour of “Billion Dollar Movie” is merely wretched, though the business of Tim’s over-enthusiastic “adoption” of the young son of a “toilet paper recycler” as his own is quite creepy. At around the sixty-minute mark, however, it turns truly disgusting. A farcical shoot-out at the close tries to mock bloody action sequences, but the clumsiness of execution—a joke throughout—is the only notable thing about it.
Among the bits of business in that final half-hour is a particularly revolting episode in which Wareheim takes a bath in excrement. Anyone who watches this movie will know what he must be feeling. One of the production partners of “Billion Dollar Movie” is the website Funny or Die. In this case, it’s death.