30 Minutes or Less

Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, and Nick Swardson

I've never been a big fan of Danny McBride.  There's a thin line between funny vulgarity and pointless crudity.  McBride crosses that line time and time again in his effort to be overtly raunchy.  He just drops four-letter words and any kind of reference to sex without any real purpose.  That kind of nonsense is not comedy.  Unfortunately, we have to deal with this crap in the otherwise decent film 30 Minutes or Less.

In his personal life, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is at war with his friend Chet (Aziz Ansari).  He tells Chet that he slept with Chet's twin sister Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria) when they were in high school.  In fact, Nick still has feelings for Kate.  Chet then tells Nick that he disseminated the rumor that led to Nick's parents getting divorced years ago.  Naturally, these two best friends hate each other's guts.  They then decide to end their friendship.

In his professional life, Nick is a pizza delivery guy who sucks at his job.  He can't ever deliver a pizza within the restaurant's “30 minutes or less” policy.  He gets the unfortunate task of delivering pizza to Dwayne King (Danny McBride) and Travis Cord (Nick Swardson).  Dwayne is looking to finance a hit on his father the Major (Fred Ward).  He needs $100,000 and will do just about anything to get it.  He takes Nick hostage when he delivers a pizza and straps a bomb to him.  He now tasks Nick with getting his hands on the money by any means necessary in the next 24 hours.  Now, Nick's personal and professional lives collide as he must call on his former best friend Chet to help him do something very illegal—rob a bank.

30 Minutes or Less is a decent comedy with a few laugh-out-loud moments.  Most of the comedy is sharply delivered by Jesse Eisenberg though this isn't necessarily the ideal follow-up to The Social Network.  Fred Ward also brings the laughs whenever he's on camera.  Despite their enjoyable performances, the comedy in this zany film is uneven.  That's because Danny McBride tries to infuse the film with his pointlessly crude nonsense.  Polishing scepters and licking crowns aren't amusing euphemisms in the context of the film.  His crap drags the film down.  30 Minutes or Less could have been much better.

What I really appreciate about 30 Minutes or Less are the references to classic films that defined the 80s.  They gave us a little dose of John McClane in Die Hard.  They gave us some of Riggs and Murtaugh, the original buddy cops in Lethal Weapon.  They even defile Jason Voorhees, the machete-wielding serial killer from the Friday the 13th series.  While I would appreciate a classier reference to the undead badass than what is done in the film, I can live with it.

Because of the not-so-funny performance by Danny McBride, 30 Minutes or Less starts out as hilarious, hits a lull, and then recovers for a funny ending.   For this, the film gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a few rounds of beer during this one.