30 Minutes or Less (2011) Poster

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Good plot, lousy writing
patsworld9 September 2011
This could have been a fun movie...there is a plot, the casting is good...but once again, we have a prime case of screen writers who really aren't. It's as if, in half the movies these days, and this is a perfect example of one, the writers have no clue as to how to write dialogue, so they decide to talk dirty for an hour and a half and call it good. It isn't. It's awful. If this is still the remains of trying for shock value in movies, it doesn't work anymore. It's boring. It's dull. It's repetitive. Viewers don't want shock value. We want entertainment. Somewhere out there in Hollywood land, there have to be writers who can actually write - who have imagination - who have creativity. But, unfortunately, none were hired for this movie. Blah!
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Less than Funny
colinrgeorge11 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Jokes are overrated. The best comedies cull humor from character flaws, and while the cast of 30 Minutes or Less has those to spare, human foibles have little bearing on the way these people behave. Instead, it's about one-liners and crass one-upmanship in a string of exponentially less believable scenarios. First time screenwriter Michael Diliberti (previously credited as executive assistant to producer Scott Rudin) blunders his way past a great premise to lowest common denominator comedy.

Nick (played by Jesse Eisenberg of The Social Network) is a pizza delivery boy who gets jumped by a pair of goons (Danny McBride, Nick Swardson), and strapped with a bomb and an ultimatum: rob a bank within ten hours or face the explosive consequences. Sounds exciting, right? Wrong.

Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer ignores the inherent tension. The homemade bomb should be a volatile, omnipresent threat, but there's never any indication that the device will actually explode. Granted, I'm not expecting Hitchcock here, but if I can't have suspense, even logic would suffice. With a whole ten hours on the clock, Nick and his buddy Chet (Aziz Ansari) idiotically ignore every safer stratagem at their disposal while playing ball with the crooks.

Part of the problem is that McBride and Swardson are portrayed as such inept villains, and occupy so much screen time. 30 Minutes or Less, at 90 minutes or less, prominently features these characters out of necessity to fulfill its own feature-length ambitions. Dramatically, it makes no sense — is Nick really the type of guy who would steal $100,000 at the behest of stooges like these?

A better 30 Minutes or Less would have ditched its emphasis on the antagonists and focused instead on Nick's foiled attempts to extricate himself from his predicament. As it stands, he seems all too willing to make himself an antihero: not just in robbery, but in voluntary crimes like grand theft auto and threatening a cop. It would have been more believable and exciting if the character complied only as a desperate last resort. That his roommate accompanies him on the heist is more asinine still.

As always, if 30 Minutes or Less were funnier, it would be easy to forgive the injustice done to its premise. The humor is hit-and-miss leaning toward the latter, and even my eager audience was rendered deafly silent by many of McBride's big moments. It isn't expressly his fault — his character just doesn't belong in the movie, and there's not much character there to begin with.

To draw a comparison, Tropic Thunder ranks among my favorite action-comedies of recent years because its characters instigate the plot, not vice versa. In that film, dramatic tension is elevated by the conflicting egos of its cast. In 30 Minutes or Less, narrative devices as lethal as Nick's bomb vest routinely hold the story ransom.

But the real robbery isn't a bank job — it's the shameless adoption of modern comedy's worst habits by Diliberti and Fleischer. From their casts of emotionally stunted man-children to their disposable pop-culture jabs and gratuitous bawdy dialogue, the irony of these R-rated comedies is that they cater to a PG-13 crowd. 30 Minutes or Less had an opportunity to distinguish itself with action beats, but the nearest it comes to Die Hard and Lethal Weapon is mentioning them. Even in a summer with little competition, Fleischer's film is light on laughs and even lighter on character. Now there's a commodity that's underrated.
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It has a few moments, but not enough.
Christian_Dimartino3 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
To me, a good comedy is when a movie can make me laugh the entire way through. Take Bridesmaids for example. An okay comedy is when a movie has hit or miss moments. Then there's a bad comedy, where nothing is funny the whole way through. Take the Danny McBride comedy Your Highness for example.

30 minutes or less, the second film from director Ruben Fleisher(Zombieland) has a few moments, but not enough to maintain such a short length. It's an action comedy with some action and not a whole lot of comedy.

Jessie Eisenberg plays Nick, a pizza delivery guy who is unfortunately picked by a couple of morons(Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) to rob a bank for them, and if he doesn't then they will blow him up(they've strapped a bomb to his chest.

So Nick has no other choice other than to run to his old friend Chet(Aziz Ansari), a school teacher(doesn't seem right, does it?) to assist him, and they sort of patch together their friendship along the way.

The characters in this film are bad people. I don't know who really to root for. There is a moment where Nick and Chet are talking and they say that they are a perfect match because they are terrible people.

Also, I just can't find any talent in Dannny McBride. McBride wrote this year's Your highness, which, I will say, was absolutely dreadful. Eisenberg and Ansari are likable, but bad people. And the same goes for Swardson.

Overall, it's The Dark Knight when it's compared to something like Your Highness, but it's The Love Guru when it's compared to Bridesmaids. I say skip it, but if you're really bored, give it a go. It does a good job of taking time. And I didn't mean to throw that pun in there.

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Inconsistent Writing
Leon_Chang_200011 January 2012
While the premise of this film leaves much room for hilarity, as shown by the promising trailer, it was unable to capitalize on this due to what feels like a lackluster effort on the part of the writers. There are many tell-tale indications of this, such as in the inconsistency of the characters. Palpable tension is generated between characters without any warning, and then it is forgotten by the next scene.

Another glaring issue was the pacing of the story. If you saw the trailer, you would think it centered around this bank robbery by two normal guys. However, this is only one small piece of the movie. The opening was simultaneously slow and somewhat insufficient, then everything sped up tremendously, and then the latter half of the film was dragged out to fill up the remaining time needed for the movie to be taken seriously.

In all, I would rate this film a 6.5/10 since it was still entertaining and done by clearly talented actors. However, note that this is far from their best work, probably because the actors were confused about who their characters were.
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What Humour?
cashmere-1214 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Everyone is saying it is the funniest movie of the summer. There was no humour in this movie. I didn't hear a laugh in the whole theatre. It was so boring I was waiting for the bomb to go off so the movie would be over.

I thought from the director of Zombieland it would be a lot better. Can I have my money back?

The language and sex were a turn off. Near the end it did get a little better..only because maybe the end of the movie was in sight. Nick Swardson was the stand out character. If there was comic relief it came from him. Wait for the DVD to come out save your money.
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Good cast and premise without the writers to handle it
jmson2315 August 2011
The film's plot is just how it is presented, so I will just focus on where the film fell short despite all the ingredients for success.

I saw the trailer for this and was hoping for a good, not great, summer comedy. The quality of writing in this genre can be difficult to predict based on trailers because we see two minutes of footage trying to bring us to the theater, which often leaves the best jokes spoiled before the first minute. The main reason I chose to watch 30 Minutes or Less was because of Jesse Eisenburg. Coming off of his solid performance in The Social Network and his previous roles in comedy, surely he is in a position to wait for a good script.

There is a good cast here of actors who have had supporting roles or just a brief scene in big comedies over the past few years (Aziz Ansari and Nick Swardson in particular), who outside the comedy circuit aren't recognizable names yet. Danny McBride is getting perfect at playing this kind of character (the drug dealer in Observe and Report comes to mind) who projects the pure alpha male ego and aggression of someone of authority - all while misusing every quote, saying and fact considered to be common knowledge.

I just erased a long analysis of my gripes, which aren't necessary to explain in such detail. The script was just flawed for comedy in my eyes and no one could save it. Mainly, the movie went back and forth between crazy but theoretically possible and not trying at all to seem believable. The characters are sometimes exaggerated kinds of people that exist and those who cannot, and with whom no one could relate to. Good comedies require more than lots of good jokes and actors. It all must come together in some way that works on the level presented, because context is what humor plays off. The best jokes of the film could be put essentially anywhere in any film and work the same.
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Needed one more polish
Quinoa198412 November 2014
The second feature film from Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer (but not the same film's writers) is ostensibly an "original" comedy, but borrows heavily from the true case of a pizza delivery guy who got kidnapped by two crooks, strapped with a bomb and forced to go and rob a bank. In his case it was not a comedy at all, and the guy did die (the bomb was also strapped to his head, kind of a different and more f***ed-up scenario this film wouldn't touch even if it could try). But for Fleischer and company, who needs to make it all dramatic? Or even make much sense in terms of plot?

The movie carries its moments, mostly through improvisation (or what would appear to be just going off on small tangents by actors like Danny McBride and Jesse Eisenberg, the latter the pizza guy who gets the bomb strapped to him by McBride and his co-hort). And there were even those few moments where I found myself laughing hard at the actors' repore, especially when Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari get into a good groove riffing off each other about, say, their foolishness in messing each other's respective ex-girlfriends and/or sisters. And the actual bank robbery carries some real thrills (if capped by a mediocre car chase aided by some weak 80's car-chase parody).

Ultimately I couldn't get over how needlessly complicated the plot was in McBride's plot to knock off his father, played by Fred Ward (who actually steals his scenes completely as a crazed ex-Major who won the lottery), as a plot to make millions comes down to a pizza delivery boy. Perhaps if Elmore Leonard was brought in for a rewrite it could've been made brilliant.

As it stands it's a stupid story perked up by a stupid series of comic-suspense set-pieces as Eisenberg and Anzari prepare for the robbery. For some the crazy hijinks will be enough. For me, it could have done a lot more, despite the principal cast members doing their best to bring it up to something better.
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Three laughs or less
tieman6424 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"30 Minutes or Less" is a surprisingly dull action comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg as a pizza delivery guy who finds himself strapped to a bomb and tasked with robbing a local bank. Responsible for cooking up his dilemma are actors Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, who play a pair of delinquent, inept criminals.

The film takes a slow half hour to gets to its high concept, its romantic subplot feels tacked on, its derivative of the "Crank" franchise, our heroes and villains aren't particularly well written and most of its jokes fall flat. The film is sickeningly based on a real life crime gone bad. This crime was responsible for a famous snuff video in which Brian Douglas Wells, the man upon whom Eisenberg's character is based, dies when a bomb around his neck explodes. "30 Minutes of Less" turns this sad tale into stoner wish-fulfilment.

The film stars a number of comedians, one of whom is Aziz Ansari. None are funny, thanks to a rambling script which mistakingly believes that shapelessness and lethargic, discursive dialogue are intrinsically subversive humour. The film was directed by Ruben Fleischer, whose previous film, "Zombieland", was much better.

4/10 – Worth no viewings.
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Lost Between Comedy and Action Genres
claudio_carvalho16 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The dumb and sex obsessed Dwayne (Danny McBride) intends to open a massage parlor with his partner Travis (Nick Swardson), but he does not have money for the investment. He decides to hire a hit-man to kill his father, The Major (Fred Ward), who won a large amount of money in the lottery years ago, but the killer demands US$ 100,000.00 for the job.

Dwayne and Travis kidnap the pizza delivery boy Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) and they dress Nick with a vest with a timer and several bombs. Then Dwayne tells Nick that he has ten hours to rob US$ 100,000.00 from a bank and he would give the code to release the vest. Nick summons his best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) to help him in the heist but the scheme does not work the way Dwayne has plotted.

"30 Minutes of Less" is a feature lost between comedy and action genres: it is not funny as a comedy and it is silly as an action film. The good cast is wasted in a poor screenplay and direction. In the end of the credits, Dwayne finally opens the business of his own. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "30 Minutos ou Menos" ("30 Minutes or Less")
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is very good movie watching without any expectations, you end up surprises positively.
miguelneto-749361 October 2016
30 Minutes or Less would go on TV the night, so I decided to watch the movie, but without any expectations, and I ended up liking the film, I thought a lot of fun, the cast is good, Jesse Eisenberg is well, Danny McBride good and funny, Aziz Ansaria this very well, I rather laugh with him, Nick Swardson, Michael Peña, Fred Ward and etc, the script is weak, more has really funny moments, and some fun dialogues, even the majority being uninteresting, the direction of the film is weak and the pace is moderate, I was not bored, most believe it will be very, 30 Minutes or Less is fun, have a good time, plus has a weak script and direction without any inspiration. Note 7.0
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spazberryme7 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This movie seemed like it might be funny from the trailer, but unfortunately it disappointed. There was something about some of the humor that gave me a sick feeling. There was some sexual humor that was just weird like the Jesse Eisenburg character nonchalantly watching Aziz engage in a bored sexual act in the car, pretty much every gross thing that the Danny McBride character says, the fact that the only two women seen in the film (besides the people in the bank I guess) are there primarily as sexual plot points (one is the love interest, but the think more time is devoted to discussing the time he banged her). The stripping scene was gratuitous. I find Jesse Eisenburg really unpleasant in this for whatever reason, and kind of wished the bomb would go off. I'm not sure why they cast him, because I can't think of any funny part in the movie involving him, yet he is the main character and doesn't really seem like a "straight man" character. Danny McBride plays the same redneck character as always. I found it amusing in Pineapple Express, but in this movie the character was like extra gross as was the humor. It just seemed like the movie would only appeal to an immature male audience. The handling of sexuality as something in and of itself funny or laughter inducing was just DUMB like a seventh grade boy wrote it. Not to mention we find the reason that Eisenburg's character is a loser pizza guy with no girl is that his mom slept with a lifeguard years ago, hmmm... I would love to do a Freudian analysis on this screenwriter. Aziz is funny as always and made the movie somewhat more bearable, although there were some weird moments with the character that I think had to do with the script. Nick Swardson was also funny and good in his role. The movie ends (spoiler alert) immediately after the bad guys die. We have to assume that they are not caught, and that they are not going to the police given that they were planning on keeping the money. There is no resolution to the fact that the father died innocently, what happened with Juicy/Jacqueline or Nick Swardson or the fact that there is obviously going to be an investigation into all the dead bodies.
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More tragic than the Brian Wells case as its not remotely funny
movieman_kev10 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Jessie Eisenberg stars as Nick, a hapless aimless pizza delivery boy who's infatuated with his roommate's sister who's talking of moving to Atlanta. He gets two bumbling fools, Dwayne and Travis (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) who strap a bomb to him tasking him to rob a bank or blow up. So him and his roommate (Aziz Ansari) Go about doing just that.

You know the real-life story of Brian Wells that this film has a stinking resemblance to? Well yeah this movie is much more tragic as this fails as a comedy as I didn't laugh once, nor even a chuckle. Eisenberg is merely adequate while McBride is... Well McBride is the exact same type of character that he always is. I felt legitimately bad for Aziz as his talents are wasted here.

Eye Candy: Bianca Kajlich gets topless
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Doesn't really deliver....
FlashCallahan15 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I wasn't a fan of Zombieland, I thought it was one of the most overrated movies of 2009, but I like the cast and I thought the plot of the story was promising.

The basic premise is, Danny McBride is playing the same character like he does in every other thing he's in (not a bad thing) but the twist is that Fred Ward is his dad.

Danny needs $100,000 to hire a hit-man to kill his dad, so he straps a bomb to Jesse Eisenbergs chest and tells him he must rob a bank in the next ten hours or go Ka-Boooom! Sounds really good, and has the chance to be one of the funniest films of the year.

it really isn't, it's rarely funny, and despite the film being only 90 minutes long, it drags.

It's not the casts fault they are all really good. It's just that the script writers expect the audience to laugh at the same jokes we were laughing at nearly ten years ago, but with added swearing.

It tries to be original, and just when it's in danger of getting good, the film depends on innuendo and profanity, which i'm all for, but it gets a little too much in this.

It's a great premise, with some good performance, but the script lets it down.

great Tanning salon commercial though.
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Silly, but fun
grantss6 October 2016
Dwayne (played by Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) hire a hit-man to kill Dwayne's father, as he recently won the lottery and they want to open a massage parlour. The hit-man isn't cheap, so to pay the $100,000 he demands for the job, they kidnap a pizza delivery guy, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), strap a bomb to him and tell him they will blow him up unless he robs a bank and brings them at least $100,000. Then things get weird...

Silly, but fun. Plot is ridiculous, but the movie is carried by the over-the-topness of the performances, especially those of Danny McBride and Aziz Ansari. Very funny, especially McBride and Ansari's dialogue.

Jesse Eisenberg plays the straight guy to McBride and Ansari's antics, and does a good job. Nick Swardson is perfect as McBride's sidekick. Good support from Michael Pena, Dilshad Vadsaria and Fred Ward.
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Certainly not the best of the action comedy genre, but still has its funny moments
Screen_Blitz28 December 2015
Jesse Eisenberg is a respectable actor, especially after his Oscar- nominated performance in the biopic 'The Social Network' which centered on Mark Zuckerberg, the inventor of the popular social media website Facebook. Here, he reunites with director Ruben Fleischer after his comedic role in the hit horror-comedy 'Zombieland' in this raunchy action comedy that allows him to stretch his comedic muscle. Blending a wild surplus of lowbrow humor and mean-spirited gags, this comedy delivers some good moments. But by the end, achieves a laugh-a- minute rate that makes only for an acceptable comedic fare. Eisenberg plays Nick, a potheaded slacker who holds a job as a pizza delivery driver who struggles to deliver his pizzas on time (within 30 minutes), much to his boss's dismay. He lives with his best friend Chet (played by Aziz Anzari) who becomes appalled when he learns Nick has been secretly dating his twin sister Kate (played by Dilshad Vadsaria) which causes a rift in their friendship. Meanwhile, two unemployed friends Dwayne and Travis (played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) who are living with Dwayne's wealthy, but selfish dad (played by Fred Ward). They have plans on opening up a tanning salon, but do not have the money to do so since Dwayne's dad refuses to do his share. The two hire a Mexican hit-man Chongo (played by Michael Pena) to kill his dad and steal his fortune, but need money to pay him. So the two thugs kidnap Nick and strap him into a bomb vest set for ten hours, and order him to rob a bank for $100,000, or else it will explode. Nick gets help from Chet in a wild robbery that turns into a series of hysterical events.

Some may be profoundly shocked to know that this film's plot carries a striking resemblance on the collar bomb case that took place in 2003 in Erie, Pennsylvania, where a pizza driver had a bomb strapped on his neck, and was forced to rob a bank. This film however, is not particularly based on the actual event, and is reasonably more light-hearted than what took place. Ruben Fleischer's previous film 'Zombieland' was hilarious and smart as it needed to be, mixing raunchy humor with a gleeful amount of blood and gore for engaging comedic effect. This however, is much more raunchier, meaner, and foul- mouthed than the hit zombie comedy, and though it fails to obtain the level of laughter the former achieved; Fleischer still manages to work for the least. This action comedy plays like a violent live-action cartoon with scenes of car chases, gun threats, and of course, the light-hearted bank robbery that serves as a key point to the plot. And the main duo to the ball-to-the-walls chaos is Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Anzari who are both somewhat and show a fair amount of comedic chemistry between each other. Trading some vulgar, but hilarious dialogue in nearly every scene of their presence, these two actors show that they have their comedic energy packed inside. Danny McBride and Nick Swardson who step foot into the antagonist roles however, don't have a lot of funny dialogue, and instead treat audiences with rather generic sex jokes that either not funny or just plain distasteful. The former makes his best effort to bring out the laughs by going trigger-happy with one profane slur after another, and the results just fall flat. Then there is a hot-tempered hit-man played by Michael Pena who is not known for many comedic roles, and doesn't wastes his comedic energy here in favor of a more jarring role that comes as rather off-putting than funny. In an essence, he feels criminally miscast. Eisenberg and Anzari are the only ones who manage to keep the film moving and engaging.

30 Minutes or Less may have have some flaws needling through its core, but it is an engaging comedic fare that delivers some good laughs to appeal to an acceptable comedy demographic. In this case, this if high unlikely that this one will go down as a classic in its genre, but still warrants for recommendation.
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Unpredictable, outrageous and consistently hilarious
DonFishies20 July 2011
Despite multiple viewings, I was never a fan of Zombieland. It was not a horrible film by any measure, and was quite the debut feature for Reuben Fleischer, but it still disappointed me every time I tried to watch it. So I went into an advanced screening of his follow-up 30 Minutes or Less this week with significantly lower expectations. Rather thankfully, it surpassed all of them and then some.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a bit of a slacker, and living a fairly miserable life. He delivers pizzas for a living, while his roommate Chet (Aziz Ansari) has just started teaching in a local elementary school. On the last delivery of the night, Nick gets jumped by two wannabe- criminals, Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson). They want to have Dwayne's father killed, but cannot come up with the money in order to get it done right. So they strap a bomb to Nick's chest, and give him ten hours to rob a bank and bring the money back to them.

30 Minutes or Less is a rare breed of comedy, especially for this summer. It may sound derivative, and may sound even more like it has too much going on at once. But after a chaotically hilarious opening twenty minutes, the film nestles into its niche, and quickly becomes a fairly twisted story that gets more outrageous and dark with every turn. But instead of slowly falling apart like Horrible Bosses and especially The Hangover Part II, the film stays consistent throughout, balancing its tone and its laughs exceptionally. Despite being shorter than Zombieland, Fleischer and screenwriter Michael Diliberti pack in enough material to allow the story to flow briskly, while also never finding a moment to slow down. The one-liners come faster and furiously with every passing minute, and you may miss a lot from laughing so hard. This is a ludicrously high-concept comedy that could have gone horrendously wrong (especially given how dangerously close it plays out to a real life event), but it thankfully rarely misses the mark it sets out for itself.

Even though the trailer does not suggest it, the film also plays out as a wonderful homage to the buddy films of the 1980s, complete with an inspired soundtrack (Glenn Frey's "The Heat is On" plays over an absolutely hysterical key scene, instantly bringing memories of Beverly Hills Cop flooding back). Fleischer and Diliberti are about a year too late to the 80s nostalgia trip, but it does not really matter in this case. Instead of remaking or reimagining a 80s brand for the current time or using the nostalgia simply for jokes, they use that decade's influence to help craft the film to be even stronger. So strong that it almost feels like it belongs in that era, standing alongside the greats. It reminded me a lot of Pineapple Express in the way things play out, but 30 Minutes never allows itself to become overly serious or something it is not.

Acting wise, everyone brings their A-game and is absolutely fantastic. Their deadpan and quick-witted responses and chemistry together as a group is simply astounding. Eisenberg plays his usual oafish loser, but brings a kinetic and nervous energy he has so far reserved away from most of his movies. While he is usually calm and relaxed, he lets loose here, and brings about one of his finest comedic performances to date. Much the same goes for McBride, who is larger than life here, casting a shadow over almost everyone. It has taken me a long time to warm up to his brand of comedy, but seeing him in action here is simply magical. He gets all of the best lines, and delivers them with the gusto of a trip master of the craft.

Ansari, in his first real major film role, holds it together fairly well, but you can tell he is a bit hot under the collar. It pays off in his insanely delirious performance, but it is a bit too shaky in some cases. Swardson holds his own surprisingly, and proves that he can be an absolute riot when cut off from Adam Sandler and company. Let's hope this film helps him take the hint. But special mention has to go to Michael Peña as the would-be assassin, who dusts off his wacky accent from Observe and Report, and somehow makes himself even more over-the- top. I hate to say it considering how dementedly hilarious the rest of the cast is, but he steals almost every scene he appears in.

While my enthusiasm for the film may sound a little overbearing, it is far from perfect. The characters are a bit too under sketched, and never really develop outside of the parameters of the story set-up. They are not quite one-dimensional, but outside of their key traits, there is not much else there. This may sound a bit like nitpicking, but for a film that does so much else right, it seems a little strange that the characters are not better developed. We care about all of these characters, and especially want to see Nick make it out of this situation alive. But I think a bit of extra dialogue here and there to really make something of these characters could have gone a long way. And while I appreciated the movie references, some of the more advertising-like references were a bit excessive (Eisenberg mentioning Facebook was cutesy, but Aziz going on a tirade about Netflix pricing seemed a bit forced).

I held small hopes I would enjoy 30 Minutes or Less, and was impressed by how wildly hilarious it is. It is instantly quotable, and packs some of the best comedy we have seen this summer. It may come later, and may sound a bit ridiculous, but do not allow that to make you hesitate seeing it. Letting it pass you by is simply criminal.

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Enjoyable, but not as a comedy.
SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain12 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
30 Minutes or Less takes a rather dark and yet funny premise, but then plays it more like an action movie. Eisenberg is strapped with a bomb and is told to rob a bank. What's quite peculiar about this film is that it focuses so much on the Danny McBride character. It seems as though they are trying to put some development around him, but there is nothing to like about him. He's lazy, crude, stupid, and dangerous. Aziz Ansari is just difficult to watch. He has no comic timing, and can only express his lines in one tone of voice. The heist itself is a great watch, and I loved how the pacing kept the movie going. It wasn't just a large number of failed robberies. The movie kept on moving towards the finale. I don't think I had a genuine laugh here, but I was never bored and the short running time worked in its favour. Despite the enjoyment factor, I never once believed the bomb was close to going off, removing any tension.
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"30 Minutes or Less"
theinaniloquent20 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else...

First up, I love Zombieland. The director knew what he was doing, and made a stellar, hilarious film involving zombies. The jokes were on point, the action was on-going, it had possibly the best cameo of all time, and it was one of the most enjoyable film experiences of all time. While seeing 30 Minutes or Less, I didn't have the highest expectations, nor seeing it as a good movie, but since the director did Zombieland, I honestly couldn't wait. We've seen actor Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland, which he did an outstanding job in and have also seen him in the Social Network, which he did even a better job. I've also seen Aziz Ansari's stand-up comedy, and found him to be quite the funny guy. With all these expectations, you could call me a follower of the film and I was really honestly excited for it. I went to the store, rented the film, sat down, and clicked play............... The film was hideous. I say that in the nicest way I can, but the director seriously downplayed his reputation. I didn't expect THAT much, but my expectations and more were destroyed in the process. To start off, the plot was actually based of true events. I know you've probably seen this a few times, but the event resulted in the pizza man dying. The film pays no respects to the man nor does it even follow the true story, they just ripped it off to make it funny. That leads me to the humor. I actually do not remember one time in the movie where I laughed, the audience wasn't for it either. The film was basically a comedy stripped with the label 'comedy' basically making the film nothing. 1 hour and 23 minutes of nothing... The acting was almost mediocre too. They chose the characters right and well, but their performances were almost boring. They didn't even attempt to attempt to try... I do not recommend the film at all. It was maybe just a bad idea or a bad result, either way, I wasn't entertained as I should've been. 3/10.
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OKReviewer14 August 2011
There are plenty of bad puns to be had with the title of this movie, but the cheesiest and most appropriate I can offer after watching it is "83 Minutes Long and Still a Mess." In the age of the three-hour comedy, I thought it would be a relief to watch a laugher with a tighter belt. Unfortunately, even with the fast title, Less dragged on much longer than I wished it to.

Less seems like a half-a**ed debacle, where everyone including the Captain jumped ship when they felt the movie sinking. The direction, if you can call it that, was done by Ruben Fleischer, who couldn't have possibly given his maximum effort on this film. His recent film success was directing the 2009 film Zombieland, which was a taut and intriguing comedy. Zombieland had a less original premise than Less, but consistently provided laughter and a few tense action sequences. Less similarly attempts to combine action and comedy, but provides an extremely flat and jumbled film.

The writing is slovenly. There are cheap laughs aplenty, and even a few good belly-busters, but laughter is inevitable when you try and force a joke every single line of the movie. My question is, why did the writers, and director for that matter, keep the crap that didn't stick to the wall? Watching Less felt like watching a movie shot in one take before it hits the editing room; so many intended jokes fall flat and fail to register. Even lazier than the joke writing is the character writing. Of course Less is a comedy, and an intentionally stupid one at that. Viewers shouldn't go in expecting to see detailed character development a la Mad Men; I certainly didn't. But the characters in Less change personalities and character traits on a whim and at an alarming rate.

In the movie's first scene, we see Jesse Eisenberg's character Nick, calmly and deliberately con two teenagers out of 40 dollars. But, after the first ten minutes of the movie, even before he gets the bomb/plot device strapped on his chest (which admittedly would make anyone change their disposition), he turns into a manic motormouth. The most offensive and unexplained character shift is that of the amateur criminal Travis, played by Nick Swardson (who in a side note needs to find a new agent after agreeing to star in the upcoming guaranteed bomb Bucky Larson. Find the trailer if you haven't seen it already; I almost clawed my eyes out in the theater seeing it before Less). Travis starts out as a complete imbecile, seemingly unable to think independently. Then, throughout the movie, Travis tries on about three or four different personalities before Swardson gives up altogether. And with writing that uneven, who could blame him?

Aziz Ansari predictably throws down the best performance in Less, and not simply by default. Unlike his stand-up comedy, which is a consistently high-pitched freight train of energy, Ansari is able to give his Chet character a dynamism I didn't expect from him. Sure, there are plenty of squeaky outbursts, but he knows that the outburst seems louder and more hilarious if there is a calm before the detonation. Ansari is the only actor relishing the gags, but unfortunately is fed plenty of misfired jokes by the writers as well. Danny McBride, deservedly renowned for his Kenny Powers character on HBO's Eastbound and Down, seems content to cash the paycheck and move on. He plays Dwayne, a much less funny Powers reprise, whose bumbling criminal character the writers mistakenly believe we care about. They inexplicably allow the movie to take a plot turn into his domain, yet the audience could care less what fate awaits him.

Good comedy shouldn't be as strenuous a venture as it is watching 30 Minutes or Less. Luckily, we all live in the internet age, and while I no longer have this option, you can save your ticket money and watch Aziz Ansari stand-up videos on YouTube instead.

For my other movie reviews, visit http://scottsdoublefeature.blogspot.com
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This movie should had been 30 Minutes & Less. It's awful. It's bomb at the box office.
ironhorse_iv25 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a ticking time bomb, as this movie makes me anger than make me laughs. I love dark comedies, but I'm sorry, but I can't find this movie, that funny, knowing that the plot is very loosely based on a tragedy event that claim somebody life. In 2003, Brian Wells was an American pizza delivery man who was forced to rob a bank due to a bomb fastened to his chest. After he was apprehended by the police for robbing a bank, the bomb exploded, killing him. The bizarre affair was subject to much attention in the mass media. The producers deny having prior knowledge of that event, but I have to say that, the film is way too similar to the real events that they have to be lying. The movie really lacks creatively. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, in the film, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a slacker pizza delivery driver that got a bomb fastened to his chest by two slackers Dwayne King (Danny McBride) and Travis Cord (Nick Swardson), whom plan is to use the driver to steal money from the bank to hire an assassin to kill Dwayne's father, the Major (Fred Ward), and get his inheritance money. Indeed, the rating R movie plays on the really dark comedy that might be disturbing to some viewers. The movie doesn't really have any smart jokes, as it plays upon thoughtless crude humor to get around, it's 82 minutes running time. For a movie that says a lot can happen in 30 minutes. There was little to no sense of time in the film. If the movie made the scenes, more tense or funny. Maybe, the film could had work, but no. The film goes really have a lot of filler scenes full of product placements. I guess, Nissan must have paid a lot of money to show off that nicely restored Datsun. Also Arby's and 5-Hour Energy drinks. It's weird that all laptops seem to be Sony Vaio! Honestly, did the companies being feature in the film, know what film, they are helping fund? Being associated to this film is such bad PR. With all that money that the movie got from product placement, you would think they would hired better writers? The movie also really tries it's hardest to degrade women to the point, it was a bit overbearing, how crude the sexual remarks were. The continuous running gag of the two slackers wanting to start a prostitution ring became less and less funny, and more disturbing by the second. By the end of the film, it felt like the movie was stating out women only purpose of living are to be sex toys to men. Nudity is just there to show that viewpoint. Women are not put in a positive light at all. It wasn't needed to run the joke to the ground, to the point, that it got muddy, and tasteless. The brick jokes even fall flat. There is plenty of action scenes that were performance, most wasn't that bad. Once again, the movie really depends on unrealistic slapstick humor to get around, and its shows that most of the jokes in the movie are that. The foul language doesn't help make the jokes, funnier. Some of them, seem oddly place within the dialogue. Really derogatory terms, name calling. Most of the characters are unsympathetic unlikeable people that is hard to root for. Even Nick is a jerk-ass. The acting is alright, but if anybody states out in their role is Aziz Ansari as Chat, Nick's best friend. There is an alternate ending that maybe is worth checking out, if you do, end up watching this film. Most of this alternate ending just follow the post-credits scene. I do find the movie lacking a message. Honestly, without spoiling it, how in the end, did everybody get out scots free!? What was learn? Nothing, really. No big punch line to the whole film. It was one big Shaggy Dog story. This movie is a extremely long-winded anecdote characterized by extensive narration of typically irrelevant incidents and terminated by an anticlimax or a pointless punchline. Overall: I will drop an F-Bomb here and say this movie: fails to entertain me. It was just disappointing.
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Actually one of my favorites
cosizzle30 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I had no idea what to expect, and found myself laughing immediately. The honest (and crude of course) conflict between the two heroes was the driving force in this movie. You knew they would eventually be friends again. As for the anti-hero, his parallel conflict with his buddy was just as entertaining. The stupidity of their criminal minds was unexpected at every turn (just when you thought he was stupid, he outdid himself). The former Marine dad was a funny addition. Anyway, I see a lot of negative reviews and found that they were missing the intent of the film, that is, to entertain and keep you in suspense while keeping you laughing at the idiocy of it all.
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So...how's your day been?
StevePulaski30 November 2011
Though the screenwriter Michael Diliberti denies it, it's pretty clear with the striking similarities that 30 Minutes or Less is trying to mirror the 2003 incident where a pizza delivery man was forced to rob a bank with, what he thought, was a fake bomb around his neck. Unfortunately it wasn't, and the bomb exploded killing him. Diliberti was said to be "vaguely aware" of it, but after you watch the film, then read the story, it becomes pretty clear that he was more than that.

30 Minutes or Less is a highly energetic comedy with many laughs, but way too many action set pieces. It relies on that instead of the chemistry between Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari. The film is about Nick (Eisenberg), a pizza man who promises your pizza in thirty minutes or less. His best friend Chet (Ansari) is disgusted when he learns that Nick is sleeping with his twin sister Kate (Vadsaria). They fight and then go on with their merry way.

Meanwhile we are also introduced to Dwayne (McBride) and Travis (Swardson), two losers who work for ten dollars an hour cleaning Dwayne's father's pool. Dwayne's dad (played by Fred Ward who scores some of the biggest and dirtiest laughs in the film) was in the military and won the ten million dollar jackpot on the lottery years ago. He spends his money worse than a drunken sailor on big screen TVs, pools, and cars, but somehow has managed to not blow all ten million yet. This causes much dismay amongst Dwayne who is sick of his father's spending habits and his unpleasant personality.

One night at a strip club, a dancer convinces Dwayne that she should call her hit-man (Pena) to kill Dwayne's father so he can inherit the money so that she can make quite a few bucks off of him. The problem is that the hit-man needs $100,000 or he won't do it. So, Dwayne and Travis call an unsuspecting pizza man, who of course has to be Nick, strap a bomb vest to him, tell him that he needs to rob a bank in less than ten hours or the bomb will detonate. When he gets the money he'll be given a code that will disarm the bomb.

That is one bloated comedic premise, and it astonishes me everyone in the film is stupid enough to actually go through with all that. Director Ruben Fleischer who worked with Eisenberg on Zombieland two years ago has unfortunately made him take about ten steps back from the genius he played in The Social Network.

Eisenberg and Ansari seem like they could assist in making some lovable, Harold and Kumar-like chemistry. The problem is the film doesn't ever want to let the characters go off on their own, and at the fear of the audience becoming bored, they decide to throw in so many cliché action set pieces. Once the heist happens, the film doesn't have any purpose else so it decides to throw in a bunch of typical twists and turns hoping to extend the plot past an hour and twenty minutes. It already barely sustains a full length film.

30 Minutes or Less does pack in some pretty heavy laughs, most of them coming from Aziz Ansari as he shows why he should be involved as the lead in more R-rated comedies. He's different and funnier than most comedy actors and he almost compliments the mediocre Danny McBride and Nick Swardson. All I can say is that 2011, along with Your Highness, has not been a kind year for Danny McBride. And when considering Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star it hasn't necessarily been Swardson's year-to-remember either.

The premise is cute, the actors are energetic and lively, and some big laughs are achieved. Ultimately, this is the work of a first time screenwriter and instead of working on something much, much easier, he decided to dive into a film with sizable stars with basic skills. I wouldn't mind seeing Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari in a film together again, in fact, I'd commend it, but hopefully next time they'll be in a film where there is more laughs and less yelling.

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Fred Ward, and Michael Pena. Directed by: Reuben Fleischer.
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Has a few laugh out loud moments
cricketbat20 July 2018
I think Jesse Eisenberg is only one really acting in 30 Minutes or Less. The rest of the main cast plays the same characters they always play. This isn't a bad movie, it's just not as funny as it could have been. The story is interesting, though, and it has a few laugh out loud moments.
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Not What I Expected
winterslacker29 November 2011
The trailer preview seemed much better than the movie itself. I was rather disappointed. It started off really slow until towards the middle, when things started to pick up. The different camera angles and shots were amazing during the driving scenes; they fit perfectly. Even though I like most of the cast, the casting was still poorly put together for this movie. It was almost mediocre acting. The ending was great, with some last minute laughs, and fun for the imagination. Well accomplished, excluding loose ends, makes this movie better than it would seem. Some scenes I felt were unnecessary, and the entire movie is filled with sex references and poor language. It made me realize how this movie pegged the common language, actions, as well as mannerisms, perfectly for this day and age. It's sad really.
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Not perfect, but absolutely hysterical
KnightsofNi1114 August 2011
I'm going to say it. Don't try and stop me. I'm going to say it. 30 Minutes or Less is the funniest movie of the year. There I said it. This is quite the competition too, going up against such quality fare as... The Change-up, or the much revered No Strings Attached. And of course one can't forget about the soon to be classic... The Smurfs. Boy I hope my sarcasm is blatant enough here. But anyways, 30 Minutes or Less really is hysterical despite how the "funniest movie of the year" title isn't saying much. The film follows a deadbeat pizza delivery guy (Jesse Eisenberg) who gets a bomb strapped to him by a couple of idiots who need 100,000 dollars for one to kill off his dad. They force Eisenberg to rob a bank in order to come up with the money, or the bomb explodes. After much nervous deliberation, Eisenberg and his best friend (Aziz Ansari) set out to rob the bank and save Eisenberg's life. The results. Hilarious.

I've spent this year being very underwhelmed by the comedies. They've been either blatantly stupid, or a complete disappointment when I thought they actually had some potential. (i.e. Paul, Horrible Bosses, etc.) So obviously I was a little skeptical that 30 Minutes or Less would produce the same lackluster results. So I was pleasantly surprised when I spent the entire film laughing my head off. Looking back, it's been way too long since I laughed this hard during a movie, at least for the right reasons. When you boil it down this film is pretty straightforward and predictable. The plot itself is entertaining but there are a lot of aspects to it that once could easily come up with themselves. But this film makes it all work, and there is unexpected and unpredictable fun in the jokes themselves. You also have to commend it for always keeping the laughter going. There is never a dull moment in 30 Minutes or Less and even at its most sincere there is still something to laugh about on the screen.

Honestly, in retrospect my skepticism was pretty irrational. Can you really go wrong with a cast like this? There are four central characters in this film and they are all fantastic. It's the character dynamic and interaction that makes this film work so well, and makes it so outright hilarious. Jesse Eisenberg make a great comedy duo and they have their fair share of entertaining scenes together, namely the bank robbery which will bring up tears of laughter. But it's Danny McBride and Nick Swardson that make this film. They are the perfect duo as goofy partners in crime who can't really get anything right. It's a pairing that we've seen before, but never at this level of raunchiness, vulgarity, and absolute hilarity. You almost get to the point where you are just in a fit of anticipation waiting for the next scene with these two. You couldn't have picked a funnier duo and I don't know that I could be more satisfied with everything that happens between these two hilarious characters.

I've said it before but I'll admit it again. Comedy films just aren't something that are going to warrant high ratings from me. Especially comedies like this one. It's a film that is more about the jokes than the actual story. Of course the story in 30 Minutes or Less is actually very entertaining and hilariously creative at times, but it still just serves as a container for the jokes. Thankfully, the jokes are some of the most side splitting things I've seen and heard all year. And it's for that that I definitely recommend this film as probably the funniest thing you will see all summer, and if 2011 continues on the same trend as it has been, the year.
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