Brief Review: 30 Minutes Or Less (2011)

Director Ruben Fleischer once again teams up with Jesse Eisenberg, the star of his previous film Zombieland, for 30 Minutes or Less.  The outcome of this partnership is an amusingly farcical thriller that doesn’t outstay its welcome.

When a pizza delivery boy, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), is kidnapped by two masked morons, he is strapped to a bomb vest and forced to rob a bank.  Nick enlists the help of his childhood friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), and together they bumble their way to the bank.

A lot of this film depends on the strength of two partnerships – Nick and Chet, and the kidnappers Dwight (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson).  Luckily, both are strong and entertaining.

Nick and Chet have the daft banter that comes with an old friendship; they know how to antagonise each other but are always easy to forgive one another.  Dwight’s delusions of being a crime lord are almost as laughable as Nick’s blind devotion to him.  There are one-liners aplenty, mostly throwaway ones but all so gloriously anti-PC that it’s hard not to smile at them.

If only Nick had approached the bank robbery the same way that Ruben Fleischer approaches his films.  Fleischer barges in at full speed, does what he needs to do as quickly and as efficiently as possible then gets the hell out of Dodge.  The fairly brief runtime flies by thanks to the tight script and even tighter direction.

While 30 Minutes or Less doesn’t quite reach the bar that Fleischer set for himself with Zombieland, it’s still an enjoyable caper that comes pretty close.  However, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  If crude humour and general buffoonery don’t tickle your fancy then you can probably give this one a miss.  Otherwise, this is a thoroughly entertaining farce.



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