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30 Minutes or Less

30 minutes

Less would have been better, as in either zero or negative

dir: Ruben Fleischer

Getting Jesse Eisenberg and director Ruben Fleischer together again after Zombieland must have sounded like a good idea, since they did pretty well on their first time out. Inserting Aziz Ansari into the mix might have sounded good, because Aziz is pretty funny, whether as a stand-up or as a comedic actor.

But then someone somehow thought Danny McBride would improve things as well, and so we have 30 Minutes or Less: a mediocre flick so pointless and ineffable that the rage it could inspire doesn’t have time to coalesce before the film evaporates.

I’m telling you for free, Hollywood: Danny McBride improves nothing. Smearing shit on a Picasso doesn’t make it more valuable. Au contraire, fuckers.

Not that, oh no, don’t get me wrong, not that this flick would have been a Cubist masterpiece without McBride’s value-adds. No, it would still have been utterly pointless and forgettable. It just wouldn’t have been as annoying.

I have been accused a fair few times in my reviews of often focussing on other films instead of the one I’m actually trying to review, to the review’s detriment. I’ll cop to that, only because sometimes it’s more interesting to talk about those other flicks. Who wouldn’t rather be talking about Aliens instead of Cowboys and Aliens, or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter instead of The Lincoln Lawyer, or The Bride Wore Black instead of Bridesmaids?

Be that as it may, the review for 30 Minutes or Less is the place to talk about 30 Minutes or Less, and not the thousands of other better movies I could be discussing.

This flick is decidedly....meh. Jesse Eisenberg plays the same hyper-verbal emotionally leotarded young chap he always plays, and Aziz plays a guy who talks in a high-pitched whine a lot, but mostly they’re meant to be friends. And we’re meant to find them likable. Danny McBride and Nick Swardson play two other close friends, who are even more pathetic and painfully stupid than the first pair.

Wow, two dramaturgical dyads, mirroring each other for comparison and contrast. Hooray for us!

McBride’s character of Dwayne is a middle-aged looking fuck-up, who plots to have his father killed for the purposes of inheriting his millions. He comes up with the brilliant plan of hiring a hitman (Michael Pena) to kill his dad, recommended to him by a stripper. Strippers are known for their business acumen and canny appraisal of estate law, after all.

Where there’s one brainstorm, there’s a cascade of genius following. Dwayne, needing a hundred thousand dollars, has the idea of strapping some explosives to someone, and forcing them to carry out a bank robbery, because if they don’t, they’ll be blown up. Naturally. That task falls upon the weedy shoulders of pizza delivery Philip J Fry, I mean, Nick, being the top-billed character Eisenberg plays.

He drives really fast, hence the delivery-promise-threat of the title, but doesn’t appear to have any other skills or drive. Once the non-removable exploding vest is strapped to him, Nick’s first thoughts turn to crime, all sorts of crimes. And he can’t commit them alone, because that would be too boring. He has to bring a friend along, because that way it’ll be way funnier.

So he manipulates Chet (Ansari) into helping him to commit crimes and to have fun doing so. Because robbing a bank turns out to be a lot of fun, and they’re okay at it, so that’s great. Someone gets shot, but that’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the guys that put the bomb on him, and urged him on.

Chet and Nick are morally blameless, I guess? So instead of their crimes being a bad thing, they’re meant to be comedic?

They really start to get into the swing of this crime thing after a while, and, what, with their virtual indistinguishability from the morons that put them in this position, it’s hard to know who to support.

Not that we need to support anyone, really. I’m not really sure what the point of it all was, but the point, I guess in theory, was to entertain. For us to be entertained by their antics, by the crim out of water stuff, by the baddies getting their comeuppance, by everyone’s antics, and especially to be entertained by Danny McBride’s foul mouth.

Now I likes me a foul mouth, I loves the cursing and such, but I found here and find generally nothing Danny McBride says funny or even vaguely amusing. Ever. I can’t stand the fucker, so I should probably not watch movies he’s in. Because his presence alone is enough to guarantee that I’m not going to enjoy my blessed time in his repugnant presence.

Is, is that unfair? Unkind? Someone must find him excruciatingly fucking hilarious, because he keeps getting work despite looking and acting like something that was surgically removed from some obese man’s testicles, so who cares about my opinion.

I certainly don’t. But I also don’t have much else to say about this flick. It’s got nothing to say about anything, and it doesn’t say any of that nothing in anything approaching a witty manner. The plot is beyond extra chromosomed, but if there is anything worthwhile, it’s just, and only just, the interactions between Nick and Chet, who seem less like actors and more like two guys who should be arguing over pointless minutiae whilst getting stoned and playing video games.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. But no-one really brought anything worthwhile to the table, and I came away thinking that the film should have matched its title, because the additional 40 minutes added nothing I couldn’t have gotten from whacking myself in the head with a hammer.

4 times this McBride express must be stopped out of 10

“If wanting a lot of money is gay, then, yeah, I'm Elton John.” – that’s SIR Elton John to you, peasant – 30 Minutes or Less