Film Review: 30 Minutes or Less
When I first heard the plot of 30 Minutes or Less, the latest comedy from Zombieland-director Ruben Fleischer, I had high hopes. A pizza delivery boy has a bomb strapped to his chest and forced to rob a bank. At the very least it sounded like it would have a few laughs. What I hoped would be a good time at the movies ended up being a lesson in how to make a bad comedy.
First off, 30 Minutes or Less sports the least likable cast I’ve seen in a movie for a long time. Jesse Eisenberg is, amazingly, an even bigger douchebag than he was in The Social Network, but at least there it was deliberate. His slacker persona has almost zero redeemable qualities and about 35 minutes in I was hoping the two villains would just go ahead and blow him up. No better is his best friend and partner-in-crime, Aziz Ansari. Having seen him in a few things over the last few months, it seems Mr. Ansari is laboring under the impression that talking very loudly and waving your hands around constitutes comedy. It does not, unfortunately.
A pair of bumbling, incompetent criminals is a staple of comedy. It is brought crashing down in this film. I consider myself a fan of Danny McBride. While you can’t really say he has great reach as an actor, his rude, brash and loud characters usually get quite a few laughs out of me. But here, he’s just not funny. At all. The same can be said for Nick Swardson, who is so annoying (as usual) and unfunny it becomes physically difficult to sit there and listen to him babble on. There is, however, a single bright light in this movie.
Michael Peña is absolutely hilarious in his role as the incredibly irate assassin. He steals every scene he’s in and I felt myself looking forward to seeing him pop up again: Give me a movie focusing on his character.
This all brings me to the screenplay. There doesn’t seem to be one. Honestly, every actor (Pena excluded) is playing the only type of character they seem to have in their arsenal. Eisenberg is neurotic, Ansari is loud, McBride is rude and Swardson is OH SO RANDOM. They just spew exactly the sort of dialog in exactly the sort of way you expect. There are no surprises, no endearing characters and no laughs.
Final Verdict: 30 Minutes or Less is an unfunny, boring comedy that has no laughs, incredibly annoying characters and an absent script. Even a memorable, scene-stealing performance from Michael Peña is not enough to save this complete waste of time and resources. Do yourself a favor and avoid 30 Minutes or Less (which, incidentally, the movie should have been).