The next movie from the director of ZOMBIELAND, 30 MINUTES OR LESS brings Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari and Danny McBride together in a heist/hostage/buddy comedy. It’s an odd mix of grisly elements and some very funny jokes. Eisenberg plays Nick, a slacker pizza delivery man who is abducted by even-more slackery would-be assassins (McBride and Nick Swardson), who strap a bomb to him to coerce Nick into getting them $100,000 (so the assassins can hire a hit man to kill McBride’s rich father). Nick, panicking, finds his best friend Chet and enlists his help in getting the money — by robbing a bank.
The film is basically a black humor montage, and an hommage to action movies, heist flicks and buddy films at the same time (explicit references are made to POINT BREAK, THE HURT LOCKER and several others). At times it is grisly, and the action really is action, with driving scenes like THE FRENCH CONNECTION, blurring the lines a bit between comedy and brutality. Apparently this scenario actually happened in real life (though the creators say they did not know). As such this movie is an odd duck.
Also, being a comedy made in the 2000s, it is raunchy and has a heavy dose of sexual elements and profanity (McBride in particular brings this element). That said, it’s funny — far funnier than, say, THE CHANGE-UP. Eisenberg plays his patented intelligent slacker — there’s a very funny Facebook joke, which Eisenberg nails given his role in THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Swardson and Ansari are particularly brilliant, and steal each scene they’re in. Seriously funny at times. Michael Pena also gets a good turn as the hit man. I suspect this movie would have very funny outtakes; indeed the trailers is full of scenes that weren’t in the actual film.
30 MINUTES OR LESS is not perhaps as funny as it should be, maybe – it is disturbing at moments – but it’s a welcome summer diversion.