DIR: Ruben Fleischer • WRI: Michael Diliberti • PRO: Stuart Cornfeld, Stuart Cornfeld, Ben Stiller • DOP: Jess Hall • ED: Alan Baumgarten • DES: Maher Ahmad • CAST: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson
The previous collaboration between actor Jesse Eisenberg and director Ruben Fleischer was 2009’s surprise hit Zombieland. Unfortunately, lightning has failed to strike twice for these guys, as 30 Minutes or Less is a mostly charmless, unoriginal affair.
Eisenberg is a pizza delivery man who gets a bomb strapped to his chest by two wannabe criminal masterminds Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, and given ten hours to get them money. Eisenberg and his best mate Aziz Ansari (who’s twin sister Eisenberg has been secretly bonking), after a few minutes of disbelief, work up the courage to rob their local bank. Meanwhile, McBride and his new stripper ‘girlfriend’ have hired a hitman (Michael Pena) to bump off his lottery-winning dad (Fred Ward) with the money that is coming their way from Eisenberg.
And that’s pretty much it. The plot is transparent pretty much from the get go, and it is entirely obvious how everything is going to turn out. There is none of the visual panache that Fleischer brought to Zombieland, and after The Social Network, it is disappointing to see Eisenberg revert back to his stuttery caricature. The comedy mostly consists of referencing other, better action movies, but whereas Hot Fuzz was able to staple action references to its own brand of comedy, here it just seems lazy and unnatural.
Also, partnering Eisenberg with Ansari, someone of the exact same nervous disposition, was a truly terrible idea. What this movie needed was one cool as hell person to root for.
Zombieland had Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone. 30 Minutes or Less has that guy who was in four episodes of Scrubs and, well, that’s it.
Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
30 Minutes or Less is released on 16th September 2011