If “30 Minutes or Less” were truly only 30 minutes in length – or, preferably, less – it may have been a slightly more tolerable movie.
However, as is, “30 Minutes or Less” – billed as an action-comedy – is neither exciting nor funny. Why would it be either? After all, its toppings of noise, vulgarity and sheer stupidity are far from amusing. Moreover, knowing that “Zombieland” director Ruben Fleischer helmed this rotting slice of repulsiveness leaves a bad taste in your mouth long after leaving the theater.
Jesse Eisenberg stars as Nick, a small town pizza delivery guy whose mundane life collides with the big plans of two wannabe criminal masterminds – Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson). See, Dwayne has hired a hitman to kill his demeaning father (Fred Ward) but needs to come up with the cash in order to pay him.
So, rather than robbing a bank themselves, they kidnap Nick and strap a bomb to his chest with the promise that they will blow him up unless he delivers $100,000 to them in less than 10 hours time. Needless to say, Nick decides to do exactly as he has been told but knows that he cannot pull off the impossible task by himself.
Therefore, the pizza delivery guy enlists the help of his best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari), who is still sore from the recent wound associated with learning that Nick deflowered his twin sister Kate (Dalshad Vadsaria) and maintains strong romantic feelings for her. As the clock ticks, the two must deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers and their own tumultuous relationship.
To be fair, Fleischer does manage a few modish moments here and there that prove “30 Minutes or Less” does – despite outward appearances – share “Zombieland’s” director. The bank heist itself and the resulting car chase ensures that this material was not doomed to begin with, hinting oh-so-slightly at a better movie with actual laughs.
However, that does not mean that any moviegoer with even an ounce of intelligence, maturity or taste will feel anything less than robbed if they choose to see “30 Minutes or Less” on the big screen. For starters, screenwriter Michael Diliberti’s idea of comedy is like getting hit over the head by a two-by-four and expecting to laugh about it.
Granted, “30 Minutes or Less’s” cast is fairly talented (except for Ansari, whose constant shouting is guaranteed to give you a headache) and the entire thing feels like it should be a lot better than it actually is. Unfortunately, though, it is about 53 minutes too long. Wait a minute, does that mean it is free? Either way, the movie is still not worth it.
“30 Minutes or Less” (R – 83 minutes) is now playing at movie theaters throughout the Valley. Visit FirstLook.com for specific showtimes.
Listen to Joseph J. Airdo’s “Movie Maverick” radio segment, every Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. during “The Daily Blender with Jeffry O’Brien” on KBSZ – NBC 1260 AM and 96.1 FM.