When I first saw the trailer for this film I thought to myself…. “eh.”
now that i’ve seen it, it was slightly better than expected.
It is definitely a funny movie at times. It has a great cast of Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, and comedy veteran Fred Ward.
The major problem I have with 30 minutes or less, is just that fact, it’s funny… at times. It’s not constantly funny or even remotely consistent in the type of humor it tries to pass by the audience. There are moments of dire stress that really make you feel for Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) all while you really know nothing bad is going to happen.
Movies like this thrive on making the audience thing something bad is going to happen to the main character. The only problem is this is a comedy. Not a drama. Were this 2001’s Swordfish (A Review that will happen soon) we would want the hero to escape while reveling in the fact that the bad guy is winning for almost the entire film.
The general plot synopsis of 30 minutes or less is “Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else…” (Taken directly from imdb.com)
And that’s it. Jesse Eisenberg is our delivery boy, Aziz Ansari is his best friend, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson are the fledgling criminals. It’s honestly kind of futile to explain the rest of the plot as it really doesn’t matter. Nothing is short of cliche in this film and the film makers don’t do much to convince you otherwise.
This is the second “real” outing by director Ruben Fleischer. His last (and first) major film was 2009’s Zombieland which really made me want to like this one SO much more. I was honestly let down though, if that hasn’t already been made clear. The actors in Zombieland portrayed a chemistry that the boys in 30 minutes or less just could not muster. The interactions were forced at best for almost the entire film. But then again, it’s really hard to get stand alone comedians like Danny McBride and Aziz Ansari to really interact with fellow actors well because they are comedians at heart that are better at one liners and stand up than they are interacting with other people. They don’t like their lights to be dimmed, sadly this is portrayed the most in Ansari’s Chet. Chet is supposed to be the best friend of Nick, but every time they interact with one another you want to punch Chet through your TV screen. He’s just that obnoxious throughout the film, even when he is supposed to be having sincere heart to hearts with Nick, he just comes off like an ass.
I can’t say enough how much better this film could have been had they just changed out a couple of actors. But then again, the calibre of comedians they got for this project can’t be beat either. Stand alone, each actor is heads above the next choices that I could come up with. So while I wasn’t by any means impressed by this film, I can’t turn a blind eye to it.
It’s the best that could be done with the story. It’s the best that could be done with the actors. It’s the best that could be done with the director. The only question is why it was made. This story line belongs in an action drama film, not a comedy. There are story lines that are impossibly hard to translate to comedies and 30 minutes proves that to the greatest extent possible.