30 Minutes or Less is a pitiful little disappointment of a film, one that I was hoping would be great, given the pretty awesome cast and hilarious-sounding premise. Unfortunately, it didn’t really “deliver” what I wanted. (Groan)
The adorably nervous and socially awkward Jesse Eisenberg (who kicked all kinds of ass in movies like The Social Network, The Squid and the Whale, and Zombieland) stars as Nick, a guy who has literally nothing going for him, except that he delivers pizza. Poor Nick becomes a kidnap/hostage-type victim who is forced (with the use of a bomb strapped to his chest) to rob a bank by two hillbillies (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) who need cash quick to pay a hitman to off Kenny Powers’ asshole father, so they can inherit his millions. Wow. Typing that out felt even more ridiculous than I imagined it would. Nick literally has no one to turn to for help except his former best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari). Who in the fuck’s name is Chet?
My problems with this film stem mainly from its mean spirit, which can work if done well, but this was just sloppy, slightly stupid, and didn’t give its talented cast enough to work with. There’s a fine line between a dark comedy and something that is just unpleasant. I’m not a prude, and I’m not trying to say something blatantly ridiculous like I was disturbed by this film; I just felt like the meanness outweighed the funny. Director Ruben Fleischer also helmed Zombieland, which was made of so, so, SO much awesome, and there’s none of that energy here.
The more I marinate on the cast, the sadder I become. I love Danny McBride, and while Kenny Powers is a MASSIVE douche, he’s infused with SO. MUCH. HILARITY. that it’s okay, and he becomes a lovable douche. In this film, his Dwayne was such a hateful, white trash evil pig from hell, that I had a hard time even laughing at him. Nick Swardson’s Travis was Dwayne’s partner in crime, and the brains behind the bombs. All I can ever see Swardson as is Reno 911‘s Terry Bernardino, the flaming, coked-out, roller skating wacko. And I LOVE that dude. Travis didn’t really give Swardson any opportunity to be especially funny, and he’s more than capable of it. Eisenberg was fine, he was a slight variation on the same kind of character he usually plays – the nervous, nerdy, weird, straight man. Aziz Ansari is the final nail in the coffin – that dude usually CRACKS ME UP. (Shout out to my boy TOM HAVERFORD). He’s the kind of person who makes normal sentences, that would not be funny at all, HILARIOUS, just by the tone of his voice and vocal inflection. Here, he tried his damnest, but it just wasn’t funny enough.
I don’t even feel much like going into the plot – it just doesn’t matter. This might be funny if you were stoned, on your couch, with NOTHING else to do, but as an actual trip to the movies, it’s a bummer. I didn’t despise this film, but it added nothing to my day, and is utterly forgettable. About halfway through, four people straight up left the theater. Out of TEN. I can’t remember the last time I was at a movie where people actually LEFT. I’d say leaving was a tad extreme, but looking back, I can’t really blame them. They didn’t miss much.