30 Minutes or Less just doesn’t deliver

As most of you know, 30 Minutes or Less released this weekend to join the countless number of comedies we’ve seen this summer.  My initial expectations for this movie were somewhat high as I thought we would be seeing a clever comedy about a pizza delivery boy having to go through a series of hilarious trials in order to get a bomb off his chest.  Instead what I got was a simple, sexual joke infused, and foul-mouthed comedy that was not as funny as I had hoped.

To give you a refresher on the plot, 30 Minutes or Less is about a lazy, careless pizza delivery boy named Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) who really has no interest in his responsibilities.  The arrogant jerk, which Eisenberg seems to be a master at playing, has no real friends with the exception of his loyal Indian pal Chet (Aziz Ansari), a hard-working, rule abiding teacher who just want to be successful.  Their simplistic life of playing video games and drinking beer is soon interrupted, when an irresponsible, vulgar, and idiotic man-child named Dwayne (Danny McBride) and his naïve, clueless, innocent sidekick Travis (Nick Swardson) kidnap Nick and strap a bomb to his chest.  The price for Nick’s freedom, $100,000 for funding Dwayne’s personal plans and Nick must deliver in 10 hours or less.

Again I thought this movie was going to be a funny sequence of events with clever, well-timed dialog, a bunch of situational comedic stunts, and some occasional one liners that would be humorous.  Unfortunately it seems that wish was too much for the movie’s production team.  The movie is essentially nothing more than Eisenberg complaining, in his monotone voice, about his life, while telling everyone off with swear filled, stupid insults.  When Eisenberg isn’t complaining, McBride fills our ears with his own set of complaints, mainly directed at his father, as almost every other world is a swear or joke about having sex or polishing his scepter.  I’ll admit a few of these lines were well –timed and funny enough to make me laugh, but most of the dialog became annoying and boring over the course of the film.

The only thing that saved me from falling asleep in this movie was Ansari’s character Chet.  Like Dwayne in Horrible Bosses, Ansari’s energetic, nervous, and outspoken actions are hilarious as he unwillingly gets dragged into the mess Nick has made.  The writers made Chet’s dialog diverse allowing a wide range of the audience to enjoy his ridiculous catchphrases and one liners.  I think the dialog itself would not have been nearly as funny, if Ansari had not delivered the lines in his spastic, geeky way.

Aside from Ansari, there are a few other aspects in this movie that were entertaining.  Swardson managed to pull a few laughs out of the audience and me.  Like Ansari, Swardson has a way of delivering the dialog in a funny, entertaining way, and somehow always winds up in some of the most unusual, and often ridiculous situations, such as wielding a flame thrower in a junk yard.  His reactions to these situations were hysterical and often funnier than his actual lines.  There were also a few scenes that were loaded with situational/environment comedy that had me laughing a lot.  Unfortunately most of these scenes I realized were in the trailers and the ones that weren’t were only a few minutes short at best.

There really isn’t much more to say about this movie.  The comedy was mediocre at best, but got stale about thirty minutes into the film.  Despite Ansari and Swardson’s talent to make us laugh, they were unable to save this comedy from the lack of diversity it really needed.  Those that enjoyed the comedy found in Your Highness, should enjoy this movie a lot since the styles are very similar, particularly for Danny McBride.  However fans looking for a real comedy would probably benefit more waiting for the film to come out on DVD before catching this flick.  I give 30 Minutes or Less a 5.5 on my scale, but suggest catching some other comedy instead.


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