Movies – 30 Minutes or Less

12 Aug

On paper, 30 Minutes or Less has a lot going for it. One of its stars, Jesse Eisenberg, was nominated for an Oscar last year for his role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Its other primary star, Danny McBride, is extremely popular for his role in the television series Eastbound and Down. Supporting actor Nick Swardson put in a number of years on Reno 911, Aziz Ansari is a rising standup with a regular gig on Parks and Recreation, and Michael Pena is one of those actors that viewers recognize from somewhere, whether that somewhere is Eastbound and Down, The Shield, or any number of supporting roles. Director Ruben Fleischer did similar duty on Zombieland, which also starred Eisenberg.

On the screen, 30 Minutes or Less has…a lot of potential. McBride plays Dwayne, a 30-something underachiever who spends his days hanging with his dimbulb sidekick Travis (Swardson) and his nights impressing stripper Juicy (Bianca Kjalich) with tales of the riches he’ll have when his father kicks the bucket. Juicy tells Dwayne that she knows a guy (Pena) who, for $10,000, will make that day come sooner. To raise the $10,000, Dwayne and Travis come up with a scheme to make some poor schlub rob a bank for them. Enter Eisenberg as Nick, a pizza delivery guy who in turn involves his longtime friend, the motormouthed Chet (Ansari).

Eisenberg, as Nick, plays a variation on many of the roles he’s played in the past, an intelligent kid who’s thrust into a situation he’s not sure he can handle. He’s low-key even when panicked, and the viewer can’t help but suspect that he’s the smartest guy in the room, even if Nick doesn’t realize it. McBride’s Dwayne, on the other hand, appears to be the dumbest guy in the room, or rather he would, if he didn’t hang around with Travis. The sidekicks offset each other as well, with Travis’ dumb-bunny quietness offset by Chet’s manic chattiness.

The movie works okay, and has some nice bits, but with the talent involved, it just seems too pedestrian. Nothing really surprises, and very few chances are taken. And, all in all, that’s a letdown.

My score: 5 Cheeseburgers 5 Cheeseburgers


2 Responses to “Movies – 30 Minutes or Less”

  1. kateshrewsday August 12, 2011 at 1:18 am #

    Thanks for this. On balance, given your opinion, I might wait till it comes out on Sky!

    • CPav August 12, 2011 at 1:23 am #

      Thanks for checking in with use, Kate. Tell all your friends to stop by as well!

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