30 Minutes or Less – Film review

 The summer of the “R” rated comedy continues this week with the release of 30 Minutes or Less, a film from director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland). Stocked with quality comedy faces including Danny McBride, Nick Swardson and Parks and Recreation’s Aziz Ansari, who share the screen with recent Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg. The movie takes an unusual premise and extends it a bit longer than it should. Not unlike, but better than most Saturday Night Live based films, (Pat, Stuart Saves his Family, Superstar, A Night at the Roxbury,) this film could have been a much better short, or long skit as opposed to a feature film.

When a slacker pizza delivery boy (Eisenberg) is saddled by two half-wit criminals (McBride and Swardson) into wearing a bomb to rob a bank, he is forced to reconcile with his best friend (Ansari,) to carry out the robbery. The dim-witted criminals plan to use the money to hire a hit man to kill McBride’s father (Fred Ward,) a loathsome former marine sitting on top of a pile of lottery winnings.  Actor Michael Pena adds to the madness, portraying the dim-witted hit man looking for an easy payday.

There are some good scenes between the two groups of male leads as their friendship boundaries are tested under stress, but Ansari’s one-note hysteria wears thin after around 30 minutes. Perhaps Eisenberg thought lightning would strike twice, following on the success of Zombieland, but that film had better writing, and a more believable premise, including of course, current film darling Emma Stone.

30 Minutes Or Less is playing at Cinemark Cinemas at El Con Mall, 3601 E. Broadway Boulevard. For showtimes vist Cinemark.com

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About Herb Stratford

Arts and culture writer and film reviewer. Historic theatre restoration consultant. Artist and arts educator.
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