30: Minutes or Less (15)
This fast-paced comedy enjoys the machine-gun patter prevalent in slapstick flicks of the ‘40s.
That’s where the resemblance ends since 30: Minutes or Less immerses itself in crudity, profanity, blood, bombs and bank heists as a quartet of dimbulbs face off in a race against time.
Jesse (The Social Network) Eisenberg is Nick, the pizza delivery boy whose idea of pride in the job is to speed across town to make his 30-minute delivery deadline. He’s in love with Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria), sister of his best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari). She’s going places. He’s going nowhere.
But Nick becomes the unlikely pawn in no-good Dwayne’s plan to bump off his millionaire dad (Fred Ward). His regular lap dancer Juicy tells of a pal who’ll perform a hit for a cool $100,000. So dumb Dwayne and dumber pal Travis create a bomb vest, set a timer and attach it to Nick. All he has to do to survive is relieve a nearby bank of 100k…
Reuniting Eisenberg with his Zombieland director Reuben Fleischer was a stroke of commercial genius, for this bad taste comic free-for-all careens across town like a feature-length episode of My Name is Earl.
The joy is in the daftness. Nick and Chet emerge as the world’s worst thieves yet manage, against the odds, to pull off a bank raid. Dwayne and Travis (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) are a modern day Laurel and Hardy – “Let’s put our brains together so we can forge ahead”, as Ollie would say – lurching from one disaster to another.
Eisenberg has fun as the no-hoper partnered with a reluctant cohort who enjoys all the best lines. Ansari’s performance ricochets from deadpan reaction to cacophonous screaming. He is constantly watchable and frequently hilarious. The other highlight is Michael Peña as a tattooed killer who experiences the travails of his trade and doesn’t appreciate it one little bit.
Buddy movies are two-a-penny but 30: Minutes or Less is an outside-the-norm surprise. It’s a comic ensemble in which everyone is firing. One point: set your unbelievability metre to zero…