Blu-ray Review: Hit-and-Miss Antics of ‘30 Minutes or Less’

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CHICAGO – “30 Minutes or Less” isn’t a complete disaster but it definitely falls into the sophomore slump category given the general awesomeness of Ruben Fleischer’s incredible comedy/horror/action hybrid “Zombieland.” This follow-up would barely be noticed if it didn’t involve so many talented people taking a step down from previous work. Jesse Eisenberg rules in “The Social Network”; Aziz Ansari rules in “Parks and Recreation”; Danny McBride rules in “Eastbound & Down”. There’s really nothing about “30 Minutes or Less” that comes close to ruling. Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0

However, it does have a few laughs, a strong sense of pace, and an enjoyable-enough final act to warrant a rental for viewers hard-up for a laugh this holiday season, as long as your expectations are low. Eisenberg and Ansari have a decent rapport as friends in crisis while Fleischer comes to life as a director when the action gets intense. No, the problems with “30 Minutes or Less” can all be traced back to a script that needed a couple more revisions. The humor simply isn’t tight enough as the rhythm of the banter doesn’t flow like it should in comedies like this one.

30 Minutes or Less
30 Minutes or Less
Photo credit: Sony

Nick (Eisenberg) doesn’t exactly have it all together. He works at a crappy pizza place, the kind that still promises pie in 30 minutes or less or it’s free (for the buyer, but the cost comes out of the driver’s pocket). His best friend Chet (Ansari) is a teacher who doesn’t seem much happier. The two bicker like small-town friends with no real direction often do. They love each other but kind of hate their lives.

30 Minutes or Less was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 29th, 2011
30 Minutes or Less was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 29th, 2011
Photo credit: Sony

They’re not that dissimilar from the other pair of friends in “30 Minutes or Less,” a couple of dummies (Nick Swardson & Danny McBride) who think that their key to happiness lies in killing one of their wealthy fathers and using the inheritance money to open a tanning salon. Ah, the trouble that can be caused by the dreams of the stupid. It gets worse when they decide that the best way to kill pops would be to hire a hit man to do it and that the best way to get the 100k needed to pay the assassin (Michael Pena, who basically steals the movie) is to rob a bank. But they don’t want to take the risk of robbing the bank themselves and choose instead to kidnap Nick, strap a bomb to him, and tell him that they’ll blow him up if he doesn’t rob a bank for them. Wacky hi jinks ensue.

Sorta. The problem with “30 Minutes or Less” is the problem of most mediocre comedies — comic timing. It never develops a rhythm, which is particularly frustrating given that “Zombieland” is such a model of perfect pacing. Let’s hope Fleischer finds it again in time for a junior comeback.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a small town pizza delivery guy whose mundane life collides with the big plans of two wannabe criminal masterminds (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson). The volatile duo kidnaps Nick and forces him to rob a bank. With mere hours to pull off the impossible task, Nick enlists the help of his ex-best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari). As the clock ticks, the two must deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers, and their own tumultuous relationship.

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Outtakes
o Blowing Up With The Cast & Crew
o The Perfect Crime: Action and Comedy in 30 Minutes Or Less
o Picture-in-Picture Video Commentary with Actors Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson and Director Ruben Fleischer

“30 Minutes or Less” stars Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Fred Ward, and Michael Pena. It was directed by Ruben Fleischer and released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 29th, 2011. It is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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