30 Minutes or Less (2011) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: 30 Minutes or Less (2011)

In 2003 Brian Douglas Wells, a high school dropout, pizza deliveryman, and “valued employee” of the Mama Mia Pizzeria, was double-crossed by Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong and Kenneth Barnes, his co-conspirators in a botched robbery plot. On the afternoon of August 28th, at the end of a dirt road, the crooks fastened a time bomb to Wells’ neck. He was under the impression that this was a decoy meant to distract authorities if he was captured (they’d already concocted a story about how “three black men” forced the bomb on Wells and held him hostage). But he quickly realized this wasn’t the case and with a real, ticking collar bomb and loaded shotgun, he raided a local bank demanding $250,000. Ultimately, Diehl-Armstrong detonated the device (video of the event was broadcast on television outlets and later found itself on the internet).

The incident wasn’t, in the least bit, funny but it inspired Ruben Fleischer’s (“Zombieland“) new action-comedy, 30 Minutes or Less. It stars Jesse Eisenberg as, Nick, a pizza delivery boy who hates his job, and spends time outside of work, drinking, watching movies, and talking to Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria), a former spark and his best friend, Chet’s (Aziz Ansari) twin-sister. It also stars Danny McBride as, Dwayne, a distinguished man-child who plans on hiring a hitman to kill “The Major” (Fred Ward), his disgruntled ex-Marine, turned lottery winner father. Sick of cleaning his dad’s pool for a meager $10-an-hour, he works under the guidance of a stripper named “Juicy” (Bianca Kajlich) and his best-friend, Travis (Nick Swardson). Only problem? The hit’ll cost $100,000.

Here’s where Nick comes into play. Minutes before getting off work, he’s assigned to one last delivery. When he arrives, at a secluded warehouse, the 25-year-old quickly dismisses Dwayne and Travis as stoners. Lo and behold, they kidnap him; Nick wakes up, an explosive bulging atop his Vito’s Pizzeria uniform, to the news that he has ten hours to rob a bank, drop the money off, and enter a code to stop the bomb’s timer. Desperate for help, he enlists Chet, a substitute teacher who’s finally found a full-time job and the one responsible for the divorce of Nick’s parents. However, much like chain store pizza, you’ll either love 30 Minutes or Less or hate it.

Unlike “Zombieland,” which also had Eisenberg in the lead, 30 Minutes or Less has serious pacing issues. The screenwriters, Michael Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan, take too much time in the film’s first act setting up a potential romance between Kate and Nick that, in the end, doesn’t evolve into a meaningful relationship (it actually becomes a rather dull plot point). Also, as far as writing is concerned, it’s much raunchier than Fleischer’s debut. For better or worse, this film is jam-packed with expletives, sexual references, and bare breasts and this red band approach to humor is hit-or-miss; it results in a few laugh-out-loud moments but the more offensive jabs oftentimes feel like smoke-and-mirrors for the pair’s lack of expertise.

As for Eisenberg’s involvement, it is a step backward from his performance in last year’s, “The Social Network.” His work here retains the trademark sharpshooting delivery he’s perfected, but it shows little effort. McBride’s routine, too, has grown tiresome (“Your Highness” saw to that).

Fortunately, Ansari is a likeable sidekick that benefits from a few surprise winners, including Ward, whose vulgarisms never get old, and Michael Peà±a’s hilarious turn as Chango (a.k.a. “Sugarmilk”), the professional assassin hired by Dwayne.

However, the real stars are Nathan Barr, who is responsible for the soundtrack, and Jess Hall, the cinematographer. Together, they bring a lot of energy to 30 Minutes or Less. Dwayne’s Metallica shirt sets the tone for the film’s score — raw, guitar-driven symphonies with bustling drums in the backdrop. These riffs bring an excitement that compliment Hall’s quick and effective shots (which are sure to add a few extra hairs on your chest).

Nevertheless, this actioner is an under-seasoned slice of summer entertainment.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
3 Star Rating: Average


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'Movie Review: 30 Minutes or Less (2011)' have 4 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 24, 2011 @ 10:10 pm markymark

    Shame the movie doesn’t play out very well, it looked funny enough. Maybe I’ll have to rethink going to see it now.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 3, 2011 @ 6:04 am Robbin

    I like Aziz Ansari and Danny McBride.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 13, 2011 @ 12:29 am steve

    Full of bare breasts?!? What movie were you watching?? Ya a pair here and there for a whopping 8 seconds.. seriously the movie delivered. I just got out of a theater where everybody laughed hard. Maybe you had issues getting over the dirty jokes. Welcome to the new generation of comedy. Don’t like it? You’re too old. Pacing was off here or there. Romance story line was more a lead in for some jokes. But really it made the characters more believable despite it being a comedy. Reviewer. Grow a set and learn to.laugh. I laughed at reading your attempt to feel special by bashing a otherwise good movie

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 18, 2011 @ 8:03 am Robert Karim

    I agree with Steve that there wasn’t too many shots of bare breasts. However, I have to agree that most of your review is accurate as I too found the jokes in the movie overdone and boring. The audience I went to see it with laughed mainly at Ansari and Eisenberg and McBride’s characters were too simple and repetitive to be funny throughout the movie. The movie was okay, but nothing like I was expecting it to be.

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