Review: ’30 Minutes or Less’Written by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
Get ready for a long-winded explanation…
“30 Minutes or Less” follows a pizza delivery guy (Jesse Eisenberg) who is ensnared by an approval-needy, lazy and incompetent guy named Dwayne (Danny McBride) looking for money to hire a hitman to assassinate his father (Fred Ward) in order to inherit money. The pizza guy, Nick, seeks the help of his friend and roommate Chet (Aziz Ansari) after the money-grubbing Dwayne and his accomplice Travis (Nick Swardson) strap a bomb to his chest and tell him to rob a bank or he will explode.Summarizing this film, which takes place in Grand Rapids, Mich., can be quite the task but the plot itself is not why audiences will enjoy the movie. It’s an unrealistic comedy and while Eisenberg is not really funny, the breakout performance here is by Ansari as the cantankerous friend forced along for the ride.
The duo robs a bank with plastic guns. Chet spray paints them and sings a funny ditty while Nick drives to the bank. The antagonist Dwayne wants to be a millionaire. His big plan for the money is a tanning salon as a cover for a prostitution club.Part of the premise seems slightly bizarre until one remembers a similar story in the news less than a decade ago in Erie, Penn. In August of 2003, pizza delivery man Brian Wells, along with co-conspirators, allegedly hatched a plan to rob a bank by strapping a bomb to his neck. Police apprehended him shortly after the robbery and the bomb exploded, killing Wells. Stars of the film have said it was not based on Well’s story, but it still leaves the movie slightly tinged with a bad feeling.
Otherwise, “30 Minutes or Less” is a standard summer movie that will have audiences laughing from time to time. Its 83 minutes are filled with movie archetypes and some pretty uneventful dialogue. (Look for a Facebook reference by Eisenberg toward the beginning of the film.) Aziz Ansari’s character, however, is worth the viewing, but maybe not in theaters.
3 stars out of 5
Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive adult language, nudity and some violence.
Toledo Free Press Lead Designer James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com.