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Movie Review: 30 Minutes or Less

Films opening this weekend:
30 Minutes or Less - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade; McKinley Mall; Transit, Elmwood, Galleria, Hollywood Regals; Flix
Final Destination 5 - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade; Transit, Elmwood, Galleria, Hollywood, Quaker Regals; Flix
Glee the Concert Movie - Maple Ridge; McKinley Mall; Transit, Elmwood, Galleria, Hollywood Regals
The Help - Maple Ridge; Amherst Dipson; Market Arcade; McKinley Mall; Transit, Elmwood, Galleria, Hollywood Regals
Page One: Inside The New York Times - Eastern Hills Dipson
Project Nim - Amherst Dipson

Hot off the success of his feature length debut Zombieland, director Ruben Fleischer reunites with Jesse Eisenberg to bring scripter Michael Diliberti’s 30 Minutes or Less to life, with so-so results.

Eisenberg’s Nick is a pizza delivery boy, but this is not the neurotic, socially challenged character we’re used to him playing. Besides breaking traffic laws, he smokes pot, steals from unsuspecting minors, and doesn’t really care about anything. He watches action flicks til dawn, plays video games with best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari), and remains silent as the girl he loves (Dilshad Vadsaria’s Kate) decides to move to Atlanta without knowing his true feelings. He’s in his twenties, out of college, and delivering pizzas for minimum wage; life couldn’t get worse, right?

Wrong. Nick takes one last delivery before his shift ends and finds himself kidnapped by two imbeciles—Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson)—and with a bomb strapped to his chest, Nick discovers he has been enlisted to rob a bank of $100,000 in ten hours or less. He and Chet determine that there is no other choice—it's time to go to Family Dollar for supplies and then knock off the local bank.

Without much needed in terms of character development, 30 Minutes or Less puts its foot on the gas and fills up its paltry runtime with as much action-packed laughs as it can muster. More an extended skit with improvised takes than a fully fleshed-out film, the situations onscreen are funny, but it’s what the actors do within them that’s memorable.

We never have time to really care about anyone since it all moves so briskly, instead simply watching the hilarity. Whether Nick blows up or not, we really don’t care; it’s the journey that matters. Among the actors, you either love or hate Ansari and McBride already, but Swardson is a riot, and Eisenberg shows a nice handling of a role with some guts behind the meek exterior. If one actor does rise above the rest, however, it is Michael Peña’s hysterical turn as Chango the hitman. His speech patterns, complete disregard for human life, and soft-spoken volatility are fantastic.

The film predictably ends with a confrontation, a joke, and sharp cut to black, finishing before we have time to decide whether we loved or hated it. But that last laugh might just leave you feeling satisfied.

30 Minutes or Less 6/10 | ★ ★ ½

[1] Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari in Columbia Pictures' "30 Minutes or Less." PHOTO BY: WILSON WEBB
[2] Danny McBride and Nick Swardson in Columbia Pictures' "30 Minutes or Less," also starring Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari. PHOTO BY: WILSON WEBB

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