California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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“30 Minutes” Less Than Appealing

Eisenburg (left) falls short of Ansari’s (right) comedic talent and timing.

“30 Minutes or Less” could not be a more appropriate title for the summer funny flick as it denotes the amount of worthwhile comedy that the film contains.

While that may seem like a harsh assertion to make, it is the high points in the film that painfully highlight how much the movie simply lacks entertainment value.

Director Reuben Fleischer (“Zombieland”) attempts to deliver another over-the-top and raunchy comedy, but can’t get the finished product to move beyond the sum of its parts.

The movie’s plot revolves around the kidnapping of pizza delivery boy Nick, played by Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”), who awakens to the sight of two men in monkey suits instructing him to rob a bank and deliver the money to them or they will blow him up with an explosive vest.

Nick has no choice but to enlist the aid of his friend Chet, played by Aziz Ansari (“Parks and Recreation”), and the two set off to attempt an ill-conceived plan to rob a local bank.

The plot is little more than a vehicle for placing the characters in the film into ridiculous situations.

It’s in these moments that the performances in “30 Minutes or Less” provide the best comedic moments of the summer and some of its biggest duds.

Without a doubt the most consistently hilarious moments in the film come courtesy of Ansari, who brings a level of sarcasm and bitterness to his role that perfectly suits a resentful friendship.

While Eisenberg plays a role in this film quite similar to that which he played in “Zombieland,” his performance here feels much like the plot, simply a placeholder that allows for Ansari’s funniest moments throughout the film.

The performances of Danny McBride (“Your Highness”) and Nick Swardson (“Reno 911!”) as the two men in the monkey suits, are the focal point of most everything the movie gets right and wrong.

McBride plays the same vulgar and blunt character that he has for much of his career while Swardson plays the more naive and simple character of the two—who just so happens to be an expert in explosives.

When the two appear on screen together, the audience will either be treated to absolute hilarity or jokes that fall completely flat with shoddily written lines.

The most surprising performance and certainly the strongest next to Ansari’s comes courtesy of Michael Peña, who plays the hitman Chango and takes the stereotypical role of  just- released-from-prison Latino hitman and turns it completely on its head with a hilariously voiced role.

From multiple car chase scenes, to a bank robbery using plastic guns, an awkwardly staged car theft and a showdown in a junkyard involving a flamethrower.

The physical humor present in many of these scenes often overshadows the spoken dialogue as the slapstick comedy properly takes advantage of the ridiculousness behind them.

There seems to be so much wasted potential for what could have easily been the must-see comedy of the summer.

The film is such a mixed bag of performances and comedic moments that it is difficult to come away from the film without both a smile and a bit of confusion over all the flat jokes.

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California State University East Bay
“30 Minutes” Less Than Appealing