30 Minutes or Less: A Review in 30 sentences or less.
30 Minutes or Less reunites Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer with Jesse Eisenberg, one of its stars. Jesse plays Nick, a pot-smoking, somewhat slacker pizza delivery guy. Nick’s not pleased with his position in life. His best friend Chet, played by Aziz Ansari, who’s seemingly in every comedy as of late, was just promoted to full time teacher. Nick’s in love with Chet’s sister Kate, Dilshad Vadsaria, but she’s just informed him that she’ll be moving from Michigan to Atlanta for a job opportunity.
Despite having been intimate with her 8 years earlier, he’s never told her exactly how he feels, and has even, make that purposely, kept his “relationship” with Kate hidden from Chet. He feels like everyone else in his life, is either amidst or on the verge of their own age of prosperity, and you can get the sense that he feels as if he’ll be left behind in the process.
Dwayne and Travis are two guys with absolutely nothing going for them. They waste their days at a scrapyard, blowing up watermelons and messing around with blowtorches and crossbows. When not playing in their junkyard sanctuary, they can be found watching 80’s horror films, adlibbing sexual references to the image of life-sized killers in a hockey masks, that are draped across Dwayne’s father’s home theater projection screen.
These guys are the poster children for what happens to undereducated and spoiled, motivationally challenged youth when they get into their thirties and beyond. Dwayne, played by Danny McBride, is the “big picture” guy, while Travis, played by Nick Swardson, is the over-sensitive follower type.
After an argument with his father, Dwayne blows off some steam at a local strip club, where he tells the dancer how he’s just biding his time, until his father dies and he inherits his dad’s fortune. That stripper, it turns out, just so happens to know a guy that can expedite Dwayne’s waiting period, all for the bargain price of $100,000. The ball starts rolling from here. The only problem is how can they come up with this amount of cash. The guys “brainstorm” and decide that they should force someone into robbing a bank for them.
Enter Nick, on his last call for the night, where two men in gorilla outfits accost him, tackle him to the ground and then use chloroform to knock him out. When he awakes, he finds out that he only has 10 hours, to rob a bank and make the money drop, all the while trying to avoid blowing up.
This film is very funny at times. It contains some very crude jokes, many of which are charged with racially and/or culturally infused material. There’s also a ton of nonsense in this film. But in a film starring Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, I highly doubt anyone would be expecting anything less.
While the nonsense is amusing, as are the various jokes scattered throughout, what I liked the most here, were the assortment of subtle references mixed in, that poke fun at a variety of topics, in a number of ways.
One such example is a passing comment where Nick says how he hardly ever uses Facebook, which on it’s own merit isn’t that funny, but considering that Jesse Eisenberg played Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, in The Social Network, the humor appears.
A couple of the other subtleties I enjoyed were: how Travis learned his bomb-making prowess from blogs, how a woman tosses a gun, which then fires into the leg of a man, to which the man says “who slides a gun like that,” as if the art of gun-tossing is now considered to be required knowledge for any and all. There are plenty of other references as well, from a particular reason to drink Budweiser, to action films and video games. The manners these references are used vary, but most audiences will understand their relation to the particular scene, if not find them very funny and well placed.
You can’t expect anything but a bit of the absurd here, so any arguments based on realism and likelihood, should quickly be disregarded. For those out there looking for a film where a few good laughs can be had, while not having to think too hard, than I’d recommend seeing 30 Minutes or Less.
30 Minutes or Less: A review in 30 words or less.
Two losers concoct a get rich-quick scheme where a pizza-delivery boy, bombs, a bank-robbery and an assassin provide good laughs through absurdity, hijinks, miscues and humor of varying scale.