Saturday, August 13, 2011

30 Minutes or Less (2011)

30 Minutes or Less looked like it could be one of the best late summer surprise comedies of the summer. Based off of the previews, it already had a stellar comedy cast consisting of Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson. And the fact that you had Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer helming this project (in addition to re-teaming with Eisenberg for the first time since 2009's Zombieland), it looked like nothing could go wrong with it. However, this movie actually turned out to be one of the most disappointing comedies of the year.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a pot smoking pizza delivery boy who confides himself to a very basic slacker lifestyle. Meanwhile, Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) are two dim-witted criminals who concoct a plan to murder Dwayne's lottery winning father (Fred Ward) so they can inherit his fortune. The duo calls up the pizzeria Nick works for, and of course Nick is the one to show up. He gets attacked by the two and has a bomb vest placed on his chest which will detonate in 9 hours unless he robs a bank to pay for the hitman who will kill Dwayne's father. Nick teams up with his best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari), and what ensues is a fast-paced buddy action-comedy.
After winning me over with his fantastic portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg has returned back to his typecasted zone of playing the neurotic guy who sputters his lines out like he's the long lost son of Woody Allen. There are some moments where his matured acting emerges in the most random moments of the film, but it was very underwhelming overall. Aziz Ansari actually delivered the best moments in the film. His schtick is definitely not for everyone, but he had some chuckle-worthy moments involving his improvisation. Eisenberg and Ansari had decent chemistry between each other, but the script doesn't give them enough funny moments to work with. Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, though, really brought this movie down. McBride's schtick of saying the f-word for laughs has gotten very old in the past couple films he's starred in, and here he overuses it constantly to a point where you just want a break from his character fort the rest of the film. Nick Swardson also follows a similar style like McBride's which made me laugh probably twice or three times in the film, but my respect for him lowered even more when the abysmal trailer for his new film Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star played before the movie started.

In Zombieland, director Ruben Fleischer showed a lot of promise with his ability to mash a whole bunch of genres into one movie while still making it a lot of fun. The one positive thing in his directing for this film, though, is that he gives the film a constant fast pace in which the series of events the characters go through pass by rapidly. However, I can't place the blame on him for how underwhelming the final product is, because I think the script (written by first-time scribe Michael Diliberti) contains moments of humor that are very sporadic, and the moments for potential comedy gold are replaced with scenes that feel very disjointed to the main plot of the film.
I thought 30 Minutes or Less could have been one of the funniest comedies of the summer along with the likes of great comedies we've already had this summer including Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses. But instead, it's a very sporadically funny film plagued by inconsistent writing and annoying performances by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson. I did chuckle off an on throughout the film, but those chuckles were far and few between the longer this film went on for. Thank god it went by fast, though.

Final Grade: C

No comments:

Post a Comment