30 Minutes Or Less

30 Minutes Or Less

**

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

This is one of those films that feels as though it started life as a series of comedy show sketches - some funny, some so lame they can barely stand up - that have been beaten to airy thinness and then strung out along the most threadbare of story arcs. Like a sort of laughter thong, it covers very little and doesn't save the blushes of anyone involved.

The basic premise, however, has promise. Slacker pizza delivery dude Nick (Jesse Eisenberg, slumming it) - whose company vows to deliver your food in 30 minutes or less or you get it free - is about to have a very bad day. First he discovers that his best mate's twin sister (Dilshad Vadsaria), who he once slept with - important for friend tension 'comedy' - and for whom he continues to hold a candle, is leaving town for a new job elsewhere. Then he falls out with best mate Chet (Aziz Ansari) over the aforementioned fumble in the sack. Finally, he ends up with a suicide bomb strapped to him courtesy of would-be millionaire man child Dwayne (Danny McBride).


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Dwayne and best pal Travis (Nick Swardson) - who have a sort of overweight Chuckle Brothers vibe - have come up with the bomb plot as a way of getting the cash to put a hit on Dwayne's millionaire marine dad. I would tell you why but I can sense the clock ticking on your patience even as I type and rule number one of 30 Minutes Or Less is don't pick at the plotholes - they'll only blow up in your face.

In order to get the code and live to deliver pizza another day, Nick must rob a bank and so he drags Chet into it. This bottom layer of farce is embellished by the arrival of out-of-town hitman Chango (Michael Peña), who doesn't want to wait around for his money. As sketch (Nick conning people into paying him when late), follows sketch (Nick and Chet trying to out-offend one another), follows sketch (Dwayne's father (Fred Ward) shows why he's a tough marine), they hit and miss in equal measure. Things do tighten up considerably once the bank heist has actually happened, as the plot kicks in to drive things onward rather than it just staggering from skit to skit.

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Eisenberg does what he can with the material, which isn't a lot, while McBride and Swardson are so broad it's amazing they don't block out the sun. Vadsaria, as you might expect, is used as such a wafer-thin plot device, they could have replaced her with a cuddly toy and achieved as much depth and connection with the viewer. Despite all this, there are a few laughs, with the best ones coming courtesy of Ansari, who has a knack for comic timing and laying on the eye-rolling at just the right thickness. Funny for about 30 minutes (or less) of its runtime.

Reviewed on: 12 Sep 2011
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Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else...
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