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30 Minutes or Less

August 2, 2011

Nick: You just brought a gun to a bomb fight, officer!

30 Minutes or Less is a great film, quite funny, actually. It feels pretty great to sit through a movie that is so sweet, funny, and most importantly: short, at a mere hour and twenty minutes, this film succeeds in everything you could possibly want from a simple summer comedy blast, and c’mon, who can’t resist a cast boasting the likes of talented actors such as Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride and the surprisingly funny Nick Swardson? So what I’m trying to say, is that if you like comedies, or if you liked Zombieland, then 30 Minutes or Less is the film for you!

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a totally drugged out, lazy  slacker, and living a pretty miserable and embarrassing life. He delivers pizzas in a corny delivery car for a living. Nick psychotic roommate Chet (Aziz Ansari) has just started teaching in an elementary school. On the last delivery of the night, Nick gets tricked and attacked by two wannabe- criminals, Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson). After a bunch of negotiating and threatening, they strap a bomb to Nick’s chest, and give him ten hours to rob a bank and bring the money back to them or he’ll explode. So now Nick, along with his buddy Chet, go on the craziest adventure of their lives.

I think reaction shots play a key role when making a solid comedy. In 30 Minutes or Less, reaction shots are the key to a large portion of the comedy, primarily Ansari’s many hilarious states of emotion, which are used quite brilliantly in the film’s second act, playing perfectly to his character. The film is additionally well shot and well-edited, backed up by an extremely funny script written by fresh master of comedy Michael Diliberti, with flawless direction from Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), who is one of the best working comedic directors in Hollywood. Fleischer and Eisenberg seem to make quite a bang-up team, as was shown in Zombieland. Perhaps they will team up for a third film together, I would not mind that one bit.

Here, we have a superb cast that consists of hotshot Oscar-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg, Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari, and funny men Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, who are just plain brilliant as the villainous duo. You would think that having a cast like this wouldn’t work with a movie like this, but it is just the opposite, the actors don’t overexpose there performances to a level of annoyance nor do they try too hard, which makes it the perfect viewing experience. Unlike recent comedies, this film is not a cameo-dependent film, which is a bit disappointing due to the fact that I would have loved a little part with Zombieland star Woody Harrelson, but hey, we can’t have it all. Ultimately, these actors’ portrayals of their zany characters aren’t Oscar-worthy performances, but these guys are still pretty damn funny!

I’ve been going on and on about how hilarious this movie is, that I forgot to mention how impressive the film is in terms of pure kinetic energy, and well-made action sequences, most notably the car chases. There is a scene in particular, where Nick and Chet are escaping the cops, which in a nutshell, is just plain ridiculous, unrealistic, and insane. But man, was it cool to watch them get hit by a 10 ft. truck, screaming at the top of their lungs with their mouths wide open, sliding across the street, heading towards the camera, all done in a very unrealistic, crazy, but wildly entertaining and well-made fashion that pleased me.  All in all, these action sequences are immensely entertaining and well-done. 

I personally was really impressed, aside from the brilliant comedy and great performances, by the films impression of basically giving the audience what they want, which is why I was more than pleased by this film’s incredibly short running time. Some comedies nowadays go for maybe an hour and forty minutes, which gets absolutely repetitive and ridiculous, including repetition and dry jokes, but this one knows how what to do and succeeds in keeping it short and sweet at a mere hour and twenty minutes. Take a note, you three-hour comedy directors, less is more, and that’s precisely what I got with this film. But by no means does this put it down standard wise, it actually sends a message that we need more films like 30 Minutes or Less!

Much of the films charisma is benefited by the cast. As I previously mentioned in an older review, it is a whole lot of fun getting to see specific actors getting into some sort of wacky antics, which is robbing a bank in this case. Eisenberg and Ansari reminded me of the other mismatched friendship of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in Todd Philips ‘Due Date’. As I mentioned, Ansari is simply a hilarious actor, who I believe is the king at delivering great one-liners and is just a very likeable character-actor in general. Eisenberg has always played the shy type (Adventureland, Zombieland), though in this film, he plays quite a wild type, being a pizza-man who, according to Ansari’s character in a pivotal scene in the film: “Get’s high and delivers pizza.” Put these two together, and you have a funny treat that plays as a ‘Azizenberger‘. I know I’ll have a second helping!

Furthermore, this cast is benefited by the two actors portraying the ingenious villains. While the characters are certainly uneven, and quite ridiculous at some points, they are nevertheless a very great addition to an all-star cast. I’ve been a fan of Danny McBride ever since I saw him in Pineapple Express. Shortly after, McBride started appearing in greats such as Tropic Thunder, Up in the Air, and even has a small role in Due Date. I am also a fan of his HBO program ‘Eastbound and Down‘. So, yes; I am a pretty big fan of his. The second villain in the movie is played by Nick Swardson, who is a hit-or-miss actor. This is Swardson’s first film not apart of Happy Madison, and I don’t usually find him funny, except for You Don’t Mess With The Zohan and now, 30 Minutes or Less. I was pleasantly surprised by these two and I believe if they stick to films like this, they can have a bright future in the film industry.

Of the little-to-no aspects of this film that annoyed me, I do have one strikingly detrimental flaw that I will dissect, which is the sudden shift of tone in the third act. The film’s tone becomes incredibly uneven and uncoordinated, confusing the audience enough to make it noticeable. To my surprise, this was the same and only gripe I had with Zombieland, and even though this was quite a distinct change that changed the outlook of the entire movie for me, it was by far not enough to ruin it for me. Regardless, my final outlook of the film is benefited by our outstandingly jaw-droppingly hilarious leads and a consistently funny script that had the tendency to save any and all flaws that the film has to offer.

This summer we have been gifted with a handful of truly side-splittingly original, R-rated comedies that include the always funny Horrible Bosses, the memorable Hangover Part II, and the acceptable and average Bad Teacher. 30 Minutes or Less is right between Horrible and Hangover, being a very bright and fresh comedy, with brilliant direction from Ruben Fleischer and great performances from Eisenberg, Ansari, McBride, and Swardson. This is great summer fun, and I highly recommend this great comedy.

30 Minutes or Less = 4 out of 5

13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2011 11:15 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see it.

  2. August 2, 2011 11:18 am

    You won’t regret it. Thank you for always reading, Dan!

  3. Dante permalink
    August 2, 2011 11:25 am

    How do you get to see these films early? Do the companies give you promotions or something?

  4. August 2, 2011 11:26 am
    You should find all of your answers there.

  5. Dante permalink
    August 2, 2011 11:30 am

    Thx but none of these are showing in Ireland 😦

  6. August 2, 2011 11:40 am

    Oh, that is unfortunate. I’m sorry! :/

  7. Silverice92 permalink
    August 2, 2011 7:00 pm

    I’m looking forward to this movie. At the latest, I’ll see it next Friday.

  8. August 2, 2011 11:01 pm

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  9. August 28, 2011 12:13 am

    I was just looking for this info for a while. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your site. I wonder what’s the Google’s problem that doesn’t rank this kind of informative web sites closer to the top. Usually the top websites are full of garbage.

  10. September 6, 2011 8:29 am

    Thanks Mr. Spam!

  11. September 7, 2011 11:37 am

    Now that is some great writing.

  12. September 9, 2011 12:42 pm

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  1. 30 Minutes or Less Action-Comedy of the Year Arrives on Blu-ray and DVD November 29th « cinemaic

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