Now Showing on Cable: “30 Minutes or Less”


Opening this weekend on Starz was last year’s “30 Minutes or Less”.

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, and Michael Peña, “30 Minutes or Less” is the story of a pizza deliveryman who is forced to rob a bank after having a bomb strapped to him. As dark a prospect as that is, the movie is a comedy.

So the question before us becomes, does comedy ensue?

Two losers (McBride and Swardson) spend their days blowing things up with homemade explosives. They’re motivated to rob a bank so that one of them has enough money to afford a hit-man so he can have his wealthy father killed. They have pizza delivered and kidnap the deliveryman (Eisenberg), knocking him unconscious and fitting him with a vest rigged with explosives while he’s out. When Eisenberg comes to, they explain to him that he has 10 hours to rob a bank. If he tries to remove the vest, or calls the police, or fails to follow through, they’ll detonate the vest.

Panicked, Eisenberg enlists the help of his friend (Aziz Ansari) – a substitute teacher. Together, they set out to rob the bank, but they prove more than a little ill-equipped. They barely get along, constantly bickering and rehashing interpersonal drama in spite of the severity of the situation. Then they prove inept both at stealing a getaway car and robbing the bank.

All the while, they’re being tailed by McBride and Swardson, and eventually the hit man they hired prematurely (Peña), too.

The primary issue here is that the film simply isn’t funny. The material probably lends itself best to a crime drama, but it’s played way too heavily for laughs. That doesn’t keep them from occasionally trying to play on the suspense of the situation. For the most part though, they try to get a laugh via either McBride and Swardson’s crass loserness, or Eisenberg and Ansari’s flustered ineptitude.

The secondary issue is that it’s in poor taste. Although the filmmakers deny it was the inspiration for the movie, there was a real life incident (prior to the film) which closely mirrors the premise here. The man in that incident was killed when the device exploded (although the police suspect he was involved in the plot). Now, “Four Lions” proved that humor can be mined from even the most politically charged, highly sensitive issues – in that movie’s case, terrorism – if the filmmakers are deft enough. “50/50” does as well. But this film really doesn’t justify itself enough not to feel a little exploitative.

The bottom line is that it’s not a very worthwhile film, unless you’re an enormous fan of McBride, Eisenberg or Ansari.


18 thoughts on “Now Showing on Cable: “30 Minutes or Less”

  1. That’s how I feel about Ghost Rider II. Still prefer the 1st one. It was way better. 🙂
    Have a great day! 🙂

      • Oh, I am a big fan of Nicholas Cage….and well, he was way better in Ghost Rider I. The stunts and overdone graphic effects in Ghost Rider II was terrible!

      • 😀 I dont want to lock in to it now, but there’s a “Cheese-tastic Classic” starring Mr Cage launching (hopefully) this week! Keep an eye out Sonel! I’m thinking he’s going to be quite the regular in that series. LOL

        For me he’s a bit hit or miss. When he’s “on” that manic persona he has is pretty unstoppable. But there’s times when it seems like he’s going through the motions… and thats tough to watch.

      • Well, thanks for the update Fogs. I will keep an eye out for sure but I must confess…my eyes are starting to roam where Mr Cage is concerned. LOL! You said it… it’s getting touch to watch. 🙂

  2. Even for those of us who are fans of McBride, Ansari, Eisenberg, AND Swardson, the movie was a huge disappointment. I really am a fan of all of these comedians and even though I certainly wasn’t expecting a brilliant, witty comedy, they still set the bar pretty low. I completely agree with your review!

    • Thanks sasstag, always nice when people back you up.

      I don’t know what it is… Comedy’s tricky. I’m no fan of Swardson, but the rest of the cast have all done things I’ve liked. Like you mentioned, I didn’t have high expectations either… But this just wound up dull.

      Thanks for commenting! 😀

  3. I just wasn’t keen on the subject matter on this, especially after learning it’s inspired by a true story that didn’t end well.

    • Yeah, that’s a total turnoff.

      It doesn’t even make much difference if it was the inspiration or not. Somewhere in the process someone should have been like, hey didn’t this really happen?

  4. I noticed that you referred to the actors by their last names, except for Aziz Ansari. You just call him “Aziz.” It’s like you know him or something. You guys must be bros.

  5. I don’t know, man, I thought this was pretty funny. Definitely a dark comedy, though. I am probably biased because I used to work as a pizza delivery driver very close to Grand Rapids (where the movie was filmed), so it was fun to see my old stomping grounds on film. But yeah, it’s pretty twisted to know that this is based on a true story.

    • Huh!

      Well, I guess it was overdue that someone would come to its defense. Had a lot of “Not interested” and “Youre right, it’s no good”s so far… 😀

      Glad you liked it, Eric.

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