Release date: August 12th, 2011
Written by: Michael Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansara, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson
Back in 2009, a small film called Zombieland came out and become a surprise hit.The film was a huge box office success and both critics and audiences enjoyed it. Now, two years later, director Ruben Fleischer has returned with actor Jesse Eisenberg for another comedy, 30 Minutes or Less. The film had some solid trailers that were pretty funny, but also had a lot of energy. Though the film has received some mixed reviews, personally I found 30 Minutes or Less to be a pretty fun film.
The film follows Nick (Eisenberg), a slacker/pizza delivery guy who is living something of a dead end life. He has his best friend Chet (Aziz Ansara), and is dating Chet’s sister Katie (Dilshad Vadsaria). Once Chet finds out about who Nick is dating, the two have a falling out. That same day, Nick is kidnapped by two guys (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) in masks who strap a bomb to his chest and tell him to rob a bank before they blow him up. Nick then has to make up with Chet so Chet can help him dispose of the bomb.
It’s nice to finally see a comedy that made me laugh. And not just a brief chuckle here and there either. I laughed consistently through out. There wasn’t any moments that had me rolling on the floor with laughter or anything, and there were a few jokes that didn’t work, but overall the film delivered on the laughs. I probably laughed more in the first ten minutes of this film than through all of Bridesmaids and Your Highness put together.
The cast all do a competent job with what their given, though none of the actors seem to be playing against type. Everyone is doing more or less what their known for. Jesse Eisenberg is plays Nick similar to how he played his character in Zombieland, though in this he’s less pathetic and more of a dick. Sort of a cross between his character from Zombieland and his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Despite being a dick, he’s still pretty likable and you root for him throughout the film. Aziz Ansari does a good job as the best friend and the two have a lot of chemistry together. McBride and Swarsdon also deliver a lot of laughs and Michael Pena has a brief but funny role. All in all, it’s a good cast.
The story is really fast paced and constantly moving. It seems the movie is constantly hitting you with jokes. I also I’m gonna give the story credit for not only being funny, but also fairly tense. One of the things Zombieland completely failed at was giving the zombies a sense of menace. You never felt like your characters were actually in danger. But here, you never forget about the dangers of the bomb strapped to Nick’s chest. You never feel safe. The fact that the film managed to deliver this feeling of dread while remaining funny is pretty impressive. Even more impressive is the fact that this film parallels a real story from 2003 where the person with the bomb strapped to them actually did explode. But you don’t think about this while your watching the film.
Apart from a few jokes that don’t work, this is a pretty enjoyable film throughout. I don’t see it having a lasting impact on me, but I had some fun, I had some laughs, and I had that all in under 90 minutes. 30 Minutes or Less isn’t something anyone needs to rush and see, but if you see it as a matinee or something, chances are you’ll have a good time.