Review: 30 Minutes or Less (15) / Director: Ruben Fliescher / Screenplay: Michael Diliberti / Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Aziz Ansari / Release date: Out now
Small town pizza delivery guy, Nick (Jessie Eisner) is not happy with his life. He hates his job, his best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari) has gotten a respectable job as a teacher, and the girl he loves (Dilshad Vadsaria), who happens to be Chet’s sister, is about to move away to start a new career. Just as he thinks that life couldn’t get any worse, two wannabe criminal masterminds kidnap him and strap a bomb to his chest, giving him twelve hours to rob a bank and bring them $100,000.
I had high hopes for this movie. The assembled cast was impressive, the plot sounded interesting, and I loved the directors previous movie, Zombieland. What could go wrong?
As it happens, quite a bit.
The film is marketed as an action comedy thriller. The main problem is that it just doesn’t get the balance right.The pacing is fast, even frantic in places. There are a couple of good car chases and action sequences, and the cast do an adequate if uninspiring job with the script.
The problem is that in trying to find the middle ground, it ends up doing none of it very well.
The jokes come thick and fast, but the problem is that none of them are actually very funny. The director seems to have gone down the path of quantity instead of quality and so the viewer is bombarded with a seemingly endless stream of crude dialogue and profanity. Don’t get me wrong – this is not something that offends me in any way, shape or form. There should, however, be a point to it. I don’t think the movie managed to get a single, solitary laugh out of me for its entire 1 hour 23 minutes run time.
Similarly, the thriller element is rather light weight for the most part. There is never really any doubt as to how things are going to turn out, and the fast pacing means that none of it really has the chance to sink in or make any impact.
The story was interesting, as far as it went, and I did look forward to seeing how things could get worse for the characters, but I didn’t really connect with any of them, and ultimately didn’t really care what happened to any of them.
That’s not to say that this is a terrible movie (although my girlfriend would disagree on that point, and the last half hour or so was peppered with comments such as “what are you making me watch on a Friday night?”, and “Is this rubbish still on?”) Some of the action sequences were OK, and there were enough twists and turns in the plot to keep my attention. Just. All in all, 30 Minutes or Less was a vaguely interesting, mindless way to spend an hour and a half. It’s just that with the assembled cast, director and premise, I was hoping for so much more.
If I had to sum this movie up in one word, it would be “disappointing”.