30 Minutes or Less review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
Jesse Eisenberg reunites with his ‘Zombieland’ director Ruben Fleischer in ’30 Minutes Or Less’, a raunchy comedy thriller that boasts of an impressive comedy roster: Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, and Nick Swardson. In it, Jesse Eisenberg is Nick, a slacker pizza delivery guy whose A-plus driving skills helps him deliver his pizzas in –well—30 minutes or less.
His best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) is a reformed slacker now teaching elementary kids. After a rift explodes between Nick and Chet involving Chet’s sister, they’re on the outs. But their friendship will be tested once again as Nick finds himself the pawn of Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson), low-lifers who would rather ‘mastermind’ crimes than do it themselves.
They kidnap Nick and strap a bomb vest on him, ordering him to rob a bank. They need the money to hire a hit man to kill Dwayne’s rich father. If that’s not convoluted enough for you, hang on, there’s more to ’30 Minutes Or Less’. Or is there?
This is the follow-up movie to Jesse Eisenberg’s Oscar-nominee turn in ‘The Social Network’. He’s done comedy before, even a slacker and criminal . Here, we are made to believe that Eisenberg is not smart and cannot outsmart the dumb criminals played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson – that seems to be the get to make you laugh. Unfortunately, ’30 Minutes Or Less’ is less than what it claims to be. Laughs are far and in between.
Aziz Ansari, known for his dry wit and charming deadpan delivery, seems to be overacting. McBride and Swardson are capable enough but under-utilized, likewise its female cast in Bianca Kajlich and Dilshad Vadsaria. We can see that director Ruben Fleischer and his screenwriters are poking fun at the 80s buddy comedy movies but to no avail. We’d rather re-watch the campy comedy thrillers of the 80s than stick around and watch this.
Like the bomb much involved in ’30 Minutes Or Less’, you can say that it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to happen – only, the funny won’t.