The film industry usually dumps the movies they do not believe in during the months of August and September. However, sometimes you get a surprise hit from the pile of ashes where so many others have crashed and burned. “30 Minutes or Less” has the potential to be one of those movies. The movie stars Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Michael Peña and Nick Swardson. The film was directed by Ruben Fleischer of “Zombieland” fame. This film is rated R, and deservingly so. However if the kids are crying to get their Jesse Eisenberg fix, have them watch “Rio” instead.
The plot deals with two pairs of friends who have done little to nothing with their lives. Eisenberg shines as a pizza delivery boy shrugging off every last shred of potential he ever had and embracing his life choice to become a pizza delivery man. Anzari is perhaps the most evolved and enriched, as he works as a substitute teacher on a long-term assignment cruising the Internet for romance in his spare time. McBride and Swardson play a couple of man children who never seemed to have made it out of their parents’ basement.
McBride hatches a plan in order to fund one of his cockamamie schemes. His plan is to pay a hitman, overplayed deliciously by Peña, in order to murder his millionaire father. So he has Swardson design a bomb vest in order to kidnap some poor schmuck and force him to rob a bank in order to finance the hit. Eisenberg happens to be the patsy, forced into robbing said bank and setting the dominoes up for everyone else to tip.
Why you should watch this film: Scorsese has DiCaprio. Tarantino has Thurman. Now Fleischer has Eisenberg as his muse. The two made the extremely underrated “Zombieland” work, and now they are back for more. This movie works like the “Pineapple Express”-meets-“Hot Fuzz,” except that it is two comedies in one. It is a “bromantic” comedy to the umpteenth degree. There are bombs, flame throwers, nudity and foul language galore. This movie is immature and endearing all at once, because it is the kind of movie where you find yourself cheering for both sides.
Why you should not watch this movie: This movie is not for those with faint sensibilities. Not everyone is a fan of gross out comedies, and while this is not anything from the “American Pie” catalog, there were a couple of scenes that made me squint a little bit hard. If you are looking for biting, wry British humor, this is not the movie for you.
The Bottom Line: This movie clocks in at about 83 minutes, but it is packed with action or comedy for most of those 83 minutes. This movie is not as good as “Zombieland,” but it is probably the funniest thing in theatres this side of the overrated “Horrible Bosses.” Besides, all four leading roles need this movie to be a success.
Eisenberg’s career is on the rise, and this would further cement him as a bankable actor rather than just the “guy who played the Facebook guy.” Ansari needs this movie to be successful because he is caught in that kind of muddle where you do not know the name, but you recognize him from his roles in “Parks and Recreation” and maybe “Funny People.” Swardson needs it because he has always been that bit player in Adam Sandler movies that makes the cameo that Rob Schneider turns down.
But no one needs this movie more than McBride, because his reputation more than the others is in the line. He is running out of time and opportunities. If he cannot make primary roles work, he is destined to life as Seth Rogen’s sidekick. Go watch this movie, because no one should have to live their life as Seth Rogen’s sidekick – unless you’re Jonah Hill.
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