'30 Minutes or Less' is Raunchy, Consistently Funny
Filmmakers say ties to tragic Pennsylvania incident are a coincidence
Here's one of the stranger movies of the year — an R-rated, raunchy, violent and very funny comedy, apparently based on a real-life case that didn't end up all that funny.
30 Minutes or Less was directed by Ruben Fleischer, best known for Zombieland, and brings much of the same combination of anarchic action comedy, '80s movie nostalgia and Jesse Eisenberg. This is no comedy classic, but it delivers plenty of laughs, thanks to a witty script and no less than five very hilarious performances.
The plot concerns a couple of idiots (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) who, in a laughably intricate plot involving the murder of McBride's father and his plans to open a tanning salon/brothel, decide to kidnap a pizza delivery boy (Eisenberg), strap a bomb to his chest and get him to rob a bank.
Eisenberg has to navigate the situation along with his best friend (Aziz Ansari), while a lisping hitman (Michael Pena) further complicates matters.
Eisenberg and Ansari have hilarious chemistry while McBride gets to project an authority I'm not used to seeing from him outside of Eastbound and Down. And Swardson, a very funny stand-up comic who has mostly been relegated to embarrassing supporting roles in Adam Sandler movies, gets to be funny here, too.
The dialogue is consistently hilarious, while the various '80s homages are obvious but funny anyway.
While the filmmakers swear it's just a coincidence, the plot bears more than a passing resemblance to the case of Brian Wells, a Pennsylvania pizza man, who in 2003 claimed that he was outfitted with a "collar bomb" and told to rob a bank; the definitive account of the case is this Wired magazine piece from last year.
Just one complaint: There's a scene inserted post-credits that's just plain bad, to the point where I actually recommend that you leave as soon as the credits start. You'll enjoy the movie more that way.
No, 30 Minutes or Less doesn't break any ground, but it's consistently, and unabashedly funny.
The Silver Screen Rating for 30 Minutes or Less: 4 stars (out of 5)
Roll Credits: 30 Minutes or Less
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Michael Pena
Length: 83 minutes
Showing at Regal Warrington Crossing 22, 140 Easton Road, Warrington. Click here for showtimes.