MOVIE REVIEW: 30 Minutes Or Less


There is something about profanity in comedy that draws a very hard-to-find line in the sand between acceptable and unnecessary. Some films, such as The Hangover, find a way to be dirty and still win hearts, but most just go the way of Eurotrip and leave audiences divided on what qualifies as high and low brow humor. The latest entry into this world of film, 30 Minutes Or Less, falls into the first category, but not by much.

Jesse Eisenberg portrays Nick, a pizza delivery boy in Grand Rapids, MI that never took full advantage of his potential, which of course is pretty much acting 101 for Eisenberg. He lives with his best Friend and cohort Chet (Aziz Ansari), who has a sister Nick hopelessly loves, but cannot date due to a complicated past and of course, being best friends with Chet. Nick’s life quickly turns upside down when a duo of bumbling idiots (portrayed by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) attack him, strap a cheaply made bomb to his chest, and demand he rob a bank for them within ten hours. It is a mission filled with challenges, which the film almost never misses an opportunity to use to their full advantage, that only a fool’s fool would undertake….So Nick says yes.

Of course there is more to the story. Mcbride and Swardson’s characters don’t want the money for themselves, but to pay off a hitman to kill McBride’s aging retired marine of a father in order for McBride to get his inheritance and, as far as he knows, win the love of a stripper named Juicy (who is, spoiler alert, playing them).

If nothing else, I have to applaud writers Michael Diliberti and
Matthew Sullivan for crafting a truly original take on the “patsy” storyline. I have honestly never seen anything quite like 30 Minutes Or Less, which definitely works to the film’s favor, but also leads one to wonder why such a film hasn’t been made before. As far as I can tell, it is probably due to the amount of mindless chatter and blunt-force humor the script tries to throw at the audience again and again. While you enjoy everyone on screen, there is no one to really connect with outside of Ansari, who is pulled into the storyline to “prevent karma from ruining other shit in his life.” This disconnect between character arch and the audience causes the dialogue to try harder than most films to get a rise out of you, generally by simply stringing together a serious of quote/unquote “dirty words” to describe something that is in no way profane (for example, at one point McBride says “sometimes fate pulls out its big ol’ cock and slaps you in the face”). It is a tactic that clearly works (see any dirty film since The Forty-Year-Old Virgin), but doesn’t exactly make you want to revisit the flick later down the line.

30 Minutes Or Less wants to be the next great dirty comedy, but that isn’t what it is at all. It is funny, in fact very funny (especially Ansari, who outshines everyone), but it also has great elements of action and storytelling that could have been utilized better to keep audiences engaged.

I have no doubts people will like this film, but I also no doubts they’ll enjoy it just as much on VOD or Netflix later this year. Catch a matinee if you can or otherwise just wait, this one isn’t worth (risking) your Friday night.

Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Beauty

     I don’t see why many people don’t like this movie. I
    see you did which makes me happy. I know that Aziz Ansari out staged everyone
    and I really did expect it. He is a very funny guy. Jesse Eisenberg does have a
    really dry sense of humor that many don’t get, but I was pretty much raised
    around it. So I don’t have the problem of understanding him. I was happy that I
    was able to use my Blockbuster
    movie Pass
    to rent it online. I don’t really go to the theaters for movies because I hate
    to I spend money on a movie I don’t like. So I pay only $10.00 a month for my Blockbuster Movie Pass
    (free for new customer to DISH). As a customer and employee of DISH the Blockbuster Movie Pass
    is definitely something I recommend everyone to get and not waste money in theaters.