Wednesday 25 January 2012


From the director and star of Zombieland comes this new bank heist comedy. Watch the trailer and read my review, next...

When slacker pizza delivery boy Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) gets a bomb strapped to his chest by two local gangster wannabes and is forced to rob a bank within 10 hours, he drags his best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) along to help him. As Nick tries to plan and execute his robbery successfully, he does so under the watchful eye of Dwayne and Travis (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson), two idiots with dreams of opening up a tanning salon/whorehouse with their ill gotten gains.

This time Jesse Eisenberg is no young genius in the mold of Mark Zuckerberg, in fact a brief mention of Facebook leads to him replying "you know I don't check that shit. I'm off the grid". Instead his character Nick is a pizza delivery boy, and not a very good one at that. Tasked with delivering his pizzas in the aforementioned "30 minutes or less", the best he can manage is at least a few minutes late, and that's when he's trying hard. He's been left behind in life, seeing his best friend making a career as a teacher and his dream girl planning a move away to Atlanta.

30 Minutes Or Less is really two buddy comedies going on at the same time, with good guys Nick and Chet being balanced by the antics of dumb-witted bad guys Dwayne and Travis. I say good guys and bad guys, but they're all in the decidedly grey column at best. Nick and Chet may be forced to commit a bank robbery, but they have more and more fun doing it including coming up with cool aliases and a back story for their criminal personas. Dwayne and Travis might be planning on murdering someone by kidnapping someone first and getting them to rob a bank, but they go about it in such a ridiculous way it's hard not to pity them a little bit.

The two groups of actors work together very well, despite seeming (on paper at least) at odds comedically. Eisenberg can be a funny guy, but usually it's by playing on his nervous stream of consciousness patter. McBride, on the other hand, has made a name for himself by practicing a vulgar improvisational style, much like co-stars Anzari and Swardson. Brought together by the director of Zombieland, Eisenberg is smart enough to go along with the group, breaking out of his stereotypical role by being as foul-mouthed as his co-stars.

The actual bank heist equates to very little of the plot; it's the build up and the aftermath that is 99% of the story. You'd think that putting together a plan to rob a bank would take a bit more work and preparation, but 30 Minutes Or Less knows that that's not what its audience want to see, whipping through whatever exposition it has to get to the next set piece. When these set pieces include a car chase set to music from Beverly Hills Cop, that's no bad thing.

To provide an easy simile for the level of entertainment to expect, 30 Minutes Or Less is the takeaway pizza of comedies, providing all the nutrients and sustenance you'd hope for without really threatening to challenge your tastebuds. Funny, vulgar and politically incorrect, this is a fast paced action comedy that at a sleek 81 minutes, doesn't overstay its welcome.


Special Features: Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, Interviews with Cast & Crew.

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