Very loosely based on a strange Erie, Pennsylvania bank robbery, the story involves a slacker pizza delivery boy (Jesse Eisenberg) who is kidnapped by two moronic criminals (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson). They strap a bomb to his chest and order him to rob a bank or, in ten hours, everything will go boom. Incidental to the main story are a best friend (Aziz Ansari), his sister (Dilshad Vadsaria) and a psycho killer (Michael Peña).
Richard: There’s nothing genteel about 30 Minutes or Less. The presence of Danny McBride assures that. If you don’t find his brand of foulmouthed, anything-goes humor, then you’ll find very little to like here. But, if McBride turns your crank, you’ll find much to like here.
Mark: I am no fan of Danny McBride. He’s always playing the same loutish character in every movie. But he worked for me here, probably because the tight script gave him so little wriggle room. On the other hand, I am a fan of Aziz Ansari, and for me he’s the standout character in the film, with great and subtle line readings. Jesse Eisenberg? Let’s just say he probably won’t be nominated for an Oscar for this one.
RC: He may not get nominated for this one, but he does get a good Facebook jab in there. Good to see he can have a sense of humor about The Social Network, his biggest success so far. I have to agree with you about Ansari. He’s a manic ball of energy here, and while I thought he might be too much for in the beginning, by the end I was glad he was there. The other thing this movie has going for it is the pace. It moves like a rocket. The ninety minutes really does feel like 30 minutes, or less.
MB: I know. I ordered a pizza when the movie started, but it was over before it even arrived. I applaud the producers for knowing that the film is flimsy and ensuring that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. We’ve seen this plot done as a thriller, as a comedy it’s not going to be as gripping. But I thought its low-rent setting and general shabbiness fit with the rest of the movie. No one will be talking about the cinematography or costume design, will they?
RC: No they won’t, but they will be talking about what a raunchy good time they had at the movies, and I think that is the goal of this kind of movie. It’s like the spiritual cousin to Eisenberg’s Zombieland, an unexpectedly fun mix of action and humour.
MB: So it’s a movie that aims low, and exceeds expectations!