Fight Film Friday: 30 Minutes or Less

Posted: August 13, 2011 in fight film friday
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30 Minutes or Less
USA, 2011
Genre: Action, Comedy
83 minutes

Jesse Eisenberg stars as a slacker pizza delivery man who is locked into a bomb and forced to rob a bank for his freedom.

A new slacker comedy by the director of Zombieland, Ruben Fleischer brings us a much darker subject with 30 Minutes or Less. Keeping the same slightly-older-than-college-aged jokes about drugs, drinking, and the awkwardness of being a young adult, Fleischer also manages to delve into some surprising depth in his characters, never really having a clear villain in the story. Penned by first-time screenwriters Michael Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan, the story is nice and tight once you get past the fairly ludicrous premise (the production staff have repeatedly claimed that it’s not based on the bizarrely similar Collar Bomber incident from 2003). The dialogue is casual and natural, feeling for all the world like the improvised style of Seth Rogan’s films, with the rapid-fire banter and over-explanation of obvious jokes. In fact, Danny McBride’s character feels very similar to a role that Rogan would have played, though somehow even less mature. McBride continues playing the same role he’s been playing through Kenny Powers and Your Highness, with a bit more of an edge to contrast with his partner in crime, Nick Swardson. Together they work in harmony, the ineptness of both somehow complimenting each other on screen. Eisenberg is phenomenal in this role, blending his best performances from his past films into a strange sort of geek everyman, capable of being both incredibly sensitive and a giant asshole. The rest of the supporting cast does well, with Aziz Ansari having some great chemistry as Eisenberg’s best friend, despite some hiccups here and there.

The movie is shot and edited well enough, keeping the action moving as the plot continues to thicken. The sound is sharp and the soundtrack hits the right beats. As an action film, it works surprisingly well for the little amount of action they actually used. Some very solid car chases and explosions go a very long way, it seems. There’s a bit of CGI elements in some of the shots, but it looks good and doesn’t really detract from the rest of the scene. All in all, it’s still more comedy than it is action, but it does deliver in both genres. While it’s not really fair to compare it to Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less is still a fun ride with some good work from everyone involved. It’s not the best or brightest film this summer, but it’s worth checking out.

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