Two years ago Ruben Fleischer burst into the modern movie making school of excellence with his accomplished debut comedy Zombieland. Now he returns with another Jesse Eisenberg starring comedy but can comedic gold be struck twice?
The plot, such as it is, revolves around a slacker called Nick. Nick is your average college drop-out, a guy trapped in a menial job with a fondness for illegal substances that may just be the root cause of his joyless existence. He is employed by a Michigan pizza parlour who offers delivery in 30 minutes or less, or your pizza is free. So now that we’ve established the meaning behind the name lets forget about it altogether. What really drives the whole movie is the need for another character, Dwayne, to overthrow his dad and become his own man. In an odd parallel Dwayne too is a slacker, a guy in his 30s who lives completely off his rich over-bearing ex-military father. Dwayne concocts a crazy scheme to hire an assassin to knock-off his old man but to make it work he needs a fall guy. Enter Nick…
30 Minutes or Less’ greatest strength, and also its greatest weakness, is its brevity. A mercifully short film it packs a lot of laughs in without overstaying its welcome. Unfortunately this short run time means that it’s a disposable enough film, more likely to fill an hour and a half mid afternoon than make you actively seek it out for an evening’s entertainment. The main cast are all pretty good. Eisenberg plays to his strengths with a neurotic role that derives more from his Zombieland appearance than his Oscar nominated turn in The Social Network. That latter movie does offer us a nice throw away gag near the start though. Danny McBride is less irritating than usual with the tight scripting and short run-time condensing his absolutely stunning use of foul language into brief barrages of funny. In the smaller buddy roles both Aziz Ansari and Nick Swardson equate themselves well, offering solid platforms for Eisenberg and McBride to bounce off. The stand-out role however goes to Michael Pena as the deranged hit-man Chango.
A solid, but ultimately unfulfilling comedy. It’s good but just not great.