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Movie Reviews

30 Minutes Or Less



Reviewer: Mitsh Hansch

Released: 2th August 2011

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson

Certificate: 15

Sophomore slump, thy name is Ruben Fleischer. Fleischer, who wowed me so much in his debut, “Zombieland”, that when people ask me who the up and coming directors are, I say his name so I sound like I know what I’m talking about. “Zombieland” was able to aptly mix genres (horror, action, comedy) while having fast paced fun zip, along with witty dialogue and just the right amount depth to it’s characters to make you care. Fleisher’s foul mouthed action heist comedy “30 Minutes or Less” took less than 30 minutes before it was clear his follow-up was extremely fouled up.

Questionably inspired from tragic events for broad comedy, “30 Minutes or Less” follows two sets of underachieving misfit friends. Our so called heroes are a pizza delivery boy, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) and his long time friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari). The two’s friendship dissolves in such a rushed way that you never really picture these two ever being friends in the first place. The conventional odd buddy pairing doesn’t bring conventional laughs as the expletive riddled whiny insults thrown at each other fall flat.

Our so called villains start off villainy enough. Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) are white-trash buddies who spend their time blowing up watermelons and leeching off Dwayne’s lottery winning wealthy father, The Major (Fred Ward). To come up with money to get a hit on The Major so Dwayne can get his inheritance the two devise a plan of strapping a bomb to the unlucky sap Nick to rob a bank in nine hours or he goes boom. Dwayne and Travis promise to follow Nick around, and if he makes any attempt to call the cops he will also go boom.

The film has so many “I don’t think so” moments. Nick shows up to Chet’s school that he teaches at to recruit him for the heist. Chet shakes his head no about twice before he gives in and just leaves his class there unattended. Huh? How is that Nick or Chet never even try to call the cops, sure Dwayne and Travis can see Nick if he went up to one, but they can’t tell if he’s calling one. Why would The Major ever have a son he despises so much on his will.

More importantly how is this film so impressively unfunny with such impressive funny talent? Everything that worked out so hilariously for Eisenberg in “Zombieland” works against him here. His intelligent quick talking persona carries no laughs here. This is Danny McBride’s second truly horrible feature of the year along with “Your Highness”. McBride just comes off mean here, and when Fleischer tries to get us to care for him and Swardson’s Travis by the end all it does is send out mixed signals.

Also extremely aggravating is the wasted bank heist scene. “30 Minutes..” is only 83 minutes long which usually is a nice thing but this scene and many others are so hurried that so much possible humor is missed. The action is almost as lifeless as the jokes. The only time I laughed was from Michael Peña’s scenes playing against type as the hired hitman named Chango.

I sure hope in the future I can speak of Ruben Fleischer as the director who rebounded from a horrible second feature.

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