Sunday, August 14, 2011
30 Minutes or Less
The summer of 2011 was full of mediocre comedies and included a few great laughs like Horrible Bosses and The Hangover: Part II. While I do love Jesse Eisenberg, my expectations for 30 Minutes or Less leaned more towards the mediocre side. The previews were certainly funny, but it seemed that those may be the only funny parts. My expectations were really lowered when I found out that this film was derived from true events. It was such a good idea, but knowing that it wasn't an original idea really made it seem less funny for some reason. Also, the guy in the true story died, which is pretty rough and not funny.
As the previews show, a pizza delivery guy, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), is kidnapped and has a bomb strapped to him. The kidnapper, Dwayne (Danny McBride), needs $100,000 to hire someone to kill his dad, so he can have his inheritance. They decide to rob a bank, using a kidnapped pizza boy. I won't reveal the rest of the plot, but I will tell you one thing that really pissed me off. The pizza boy is given something like nine hours to rob the bank. I don't know about you, but I wanted to see him do it in thirty minutes. Maybe that really isn't important, but I think they should have focused more on the pizza side of things than they did. The title is 30 MINUTES OR LESS, they could've thrown a few pizza jokes in there somehow. Overall, the plot was rather predictable and simple, but there were plenty of laughs along the way.
Jesse Eisenberg was his usually great self, which made me want to see more of him and much less of Danny McBride. Don't get me wrong, McBride was very very funny, but I thought the movie should have focused almost totally on the delivery guy. Nick's friendship with Chet (Aziz Ansari) was actually very intriguing. They had stabbed each other in the back a few times in the past, which provided many laughs. Eisenberg is very good at making you care about his character, which makes this friendship seem very personal in just an hour and a half of watching. You really feel like these two are true friends.
Best Character: Chango, played by Michael Pena, is the man who Dwayne is going to hire to kill his dad. He is, by far, the funniest character in the movie, and Pena really does a great job playing the role. Also, Chango provides the only real plot twist, which is an added bonus.
Worst Character: Travis, played by Nick Swardson, was Dwayne's best friend and fellow kidnapper. Personally, I thought he was absolutely unnecessary. Swardson is very very funny, but he really distracted from the focus of the film.
30 Minutes or Less definitely falls into the mediocre comedy category. There were many laughs and a funny storyline, but I don't think there was ever too much potential with this film. The cast was full of great, funny comedic actors and, of course, the great Eisenberg. Aziz Ansari really surprised me, because I usually don't find him very funny. The entire cast really gelled well together, and I think the problem may have been that there were too many great actors. I wanted the movie to focus on each of them a bit more, but that just couldn't really happen. I'm still bitter about the fact that the pizza had very little to do with the movie, but I will get over it. I give 30 Minutes or Less 2.32 out of 5 stars.