A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.
Bi-polar mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt is called into action to stop a flasher from turning shopper's paradise into his personal peep show. But when Barnhardt can't bring the culprit to justice, a surly police detective is recruited to close the case.
A high school slacker who's rejected by every school he applies to opts to create his own institution of higher learning, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, on a rundown piece of property near his hometown.
While in his teens, Donny fathered a son, Todd, and raised him as a single parent until Todd's 18th birthday. Now Donny resurfaces just before Todd's wedding after years apart, sending the groom-to-be's world crashing down.
The not so smart Dwayne intends to open a massage parlor with his partner Travis, but he does not have money for the investment. He decides to hire a hit-man to kill his father, The Major, who won a large amount of money in the lottery years ago, but the killer demands US$ 100,000 for the job. Dwayne and Travis kidnap the pizza delivery boy Nick and they dress Nick in a vest with a timer and several bombs. Then Dwayne tells Nick that he has ten hours to rob US$ 100,000 from a bank. Once he does, he would give Nick the code to release the vest. Nick summons his best friend Chet to help him in the heist but the scheme does not work the way Dwayne has plotted.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Though the screenwriter Michael Diliberti denies it, it's pretty clear with the striking similarities that 30 Minutes or Less is trying to mirror the 2003 incident where a pizza delivery man was forced to rob a bank with, what he thought, was a fake bomb around his neck. Unfortunately it wasn't, and the bomb exploded killing him. Diliberti was said to be "vaguely aware" of it, but after you watch the film, then read the story, it becomes pretty clear that he was more than that.
30 Minutes or Less is a highly energetic comedy with many laughs, but way too many action set pieces. It relies on that instead of the chemistry between Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari. The film is about Nick (Eisenberg), a pizza man who promises your pizza in thirty minutes or less. His best friend Chet (Ansari) is disgusted when he learns that Nick is sleeping with his twin sister Kate (Vadsaria). They fight and then go on with their merry way.
Meanwhile we are also introduced to Dwayne (McBride) and Travis (Swardson), two losers who work for ten dollars an hour cleaning Dwayne's father's pool. Dwayne's dad (played by Fred Ward who scores some of the biggest and dirtiest laughs in the film) was in the military and won the ten million dollar jackpot on the lottery years ago. He spends his money worse than a drunken sailor on big screen TVs, pools, and cars, but somehow has managed to not blow all ten million yet. This causes much dismay amongst Dwayne who is sick of his father's spending habits and his unpleasant personality.
One night at a strip club, a dancer convinces Dwayne that she should call her hit-man (Pena) to kill Dwayne's father so he can inherit the money so that she can make quite a few bucks off of him. The problem is that the hit-man needs $100,000 or he won't do it. So, Dwayne and Travis call an unsuspecting pizza man, who of course has to be Nick, strap a bomb vest to him, tell him that he needs to rob a bank in less than ten hours or the bomb will detonate. When he gets the money he'll be given a code that will disarm the bomb.
That is one bloated comedic premise, and it astonishes me everyone in the film is stupid enough to actually go through with all that. Director Ruben Fleischer who worked with Eisenberg on Zombieland two years ago has unfortunately made him take about ten steps back from the genius he played in The Social Network.
Eisenberg and Ansari seem like they could assist in making some lovable, Harold and Kumar-like chemistry. The problem is the film doesn't ever want to let the characters go off on their own, and at the fear of the audience becoming bored, they decide to throw in so many cliché action set pieces. Once the heist happens, the film doesn't have any purpose else so it decides to throw in a bunch of typical twists and turns hoping to extend the plot past an hour and twenty minutes. It already barely sustains a full length film.
30 Minutes or Less does pack in some pretty heavy laughs, most of them coming from Aziz Ansari as he shows why he should be involved as the lead in more R-rated comedies. He's different and funnier than most comedy actors and he almost compliments the mediocre Danny McBride and Nick Swardson. All I can say is that 2011, along with Your Highness, has not been a kind year for Danny McBride. And when considering Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star it hasn't necessarily been Swardson's year-to-remember either.
The premise is cute, the actors are energetic and lively, and some big laughs are achieved. Ultimately, this is the work of a first time screenwriter and instead of working on something much, much easier, he decided to dive into a film with sizable stars with basic skills. I wouldn't mind seeing Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari in a film together again, in fact, I'd commend it, but hopefully next time they'll be in a film where there is more laughs and less yelling.
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Fred Ward, and Michael Pena. Directed by: Reuben Fleischer.
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