Festival

Sundance Film Festival

2012

Tim and Eric bring the drama to Sundance with THE COMEDY

If Las Vegas was taking bets on the breakout stars of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the short odds would belong to Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. The perennial cult favorites from the subversive Cartoon Network series Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job! (which is so subversive, it’s — GASP!! — not even a cartoon) head to Park City this month with two brand new projects in tow. They wrote, directed, and starred in TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE, which is part of this year’s Midnight slate, and they both appear in Rick Alverson’s competition film THE COMEDY.

Speaking recently with Entertainment Weekly, Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper and chief programmer Trevor Groth cited THE COMEDY as one of the “must-see” movies of the festival with one important caveat: don’t expect too many laughs. Cooper emphasized that THE COMEDY is “not a comedy,” while Groth described the film as “a critique of a culture based at its core around irony and sarcasm and about ultimately how hollow that is.” Oh really, Trevor?!? Is it really so hollow when I watch The Bachelor just to make fun of people who sincerely want to find love because I’m dead inside and can find no genuine joy in my own life? This is a hypothetical scenario I invented just now that is in no way based on what I did on Monday night, by the way. Just wanted to make that clear.

Heidecker stars as a Brooklyn man so deadened to life’s pleasures that he can’t even get excited about the enormous estate he inherits from a dead relative. The official synopsis from THE COMEDY’s production company, Jagjaguwar, describes Heidecker’s character as a “desensitized and disenchanted” guy who “strays into a series of reckless situations that may offer the promise of redemption or the threat of retribution.” It also calls THE COMEDY “a cautionary fable for the autumn of the American Era.” Sounds like the film’s title might be its only actual joke.

The hipsterrific cast also includes Wareheim, Gregg Turkington (a.k.a. comedian Neil Hamburger) and former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, who’s also double-dipping at Sundance 2012 with a documentary about his group’s farewell performance entitled SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS. Sounds like THE COMEDY has the makings of a provocative drama, but hardcore Tim and Eric fans shouldn’t look for them to play the hits there. For that sort of thing, BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE is the safer bet. Or just watch this video Tim and Eric tubing at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

THE COMEDY premieres Saturday, January 21st at 8:30pm at the Library Center Theatre. For a full list of festival screenings, go to Sundance.org.