5-Word 365 #114 – 30 Minutes Or Less

Today’s flick again shows Lovefilm’s insistence on sending me the most recent films I add to my rental list as opposed to the ones that have been sitting there for over a year. Priority order be damned!

30 Minutes Or Less

I didn’t hate Aziz Ansari.

A pizza delivery man is kidnapped and strapped into a bomb vest as coercion to rob a bank, so that a sociopathic man-child can pay a hitman to knock off his daddy for the inheritance. Bonding, true love and car chases ensue.

Director Ruben Fleischer’s follow-up to the fantastic Zombieland sees him reunited with Jesse Eisenberg as Nick, the hapless pizza boy targeted by the world’s dumbest criminals Dwayne and Travis. He hates his dead-end job and he loves his best friend’s sister, but he doesn’t have the balls to do anything about either one until his life is literally on the line. Aziz Ansari plays the aforementioned best friend, Chet. Chet and Nick have been close since they were kids, but where Nick has fallen into a rut, Chet has done a bit better for himself and is now an elementary school teacher. Despite the two having a fight and breaking up the night before everything kicks off, Nick still goes to Chet for help and Chet still helps him, reluctantly at first but as the movie goes on he seems to be almost enjoying the life of action he has accidentally been pulled into.

Danny McBride plays Dwayne as what is fast becoming a stock Danny McBride character. Make no mistake about it; Dwayne is an asshole. He is perfectly fine with the idea of killing his own father to get what’s left of the old man’s $10 million lottery win yet McBride makes him almost likeable by the sheer force of his personality. You won’t be rooting for him, but you won’t want anything really bad to happen to him either. Nick Swardson – who played the lead in 2011’s worst movie* Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star – is Travis, Dwayne’s just as dumb but not quite as mean partner. The only other part he’s played that has registered with me was “Crazed David Bowie fan” in Almost Famous (he was in one shot and had one line) so I don’t really have anything to compare his performance here against, but he did bring a kind of naivety and innocence to his flamethrower-wielding bomb maker.

“Say hello to my little… wait, how does that go again?”

It’s actually the supporting cast that were a highlight for me though. I could watch a whole movie of Fred Ward just yelling at people for ninety minutes, even when playing such a one-note caricature as Dwayne’s dad, The Major. Bianca Kajlich might be the sexiest Lady Macbeth ever as Juicy, Dwayne’s favourite stripper who gives him the idea of knocking off his Pops in the first place. Michael Peña is as reliable as ever too, showing up as Juicy’s boyfriend Chango, the hitman.

To my mind, this flick is like a smaller and less funny Pineapple Express, a comparison made even more obvious by the presence of McBride. The result is a semi-consistent low chuckle with a few highlights, as opposed to the roaring-with-laughter moments of David Gordon Green’s movie. Fleischer seems to have forgone all the flair that made Zombieland such a visual treat; aside from the opening credit sequence as Nick races to beat the titular delivery schedule – shot as if it was Bullitt driving that Mustang – there isn’t really any urgency to the camerawork. It’s left to the actors themselves to maintain the tension of the situation. Unfortunately, since three of the four leads are all comedians, that plan doesn’t really come together as it should.

Considerably less punchable than usual.

Here is a big point in the film’s favour from my point of view: I really liked Aziz Ansari’s performance. The few things I’ve seen him in before (in particular Judd Apatow’s Funny People and his run on Scrubs) really turned me off the guy. Both of those characters were pompous as hell and really irritating, but here that aspect is played down. He’s still a bit of a jerk, but so is everyone else to one degree or another.

Let’s have a quick word about the DVD itself. Considering the people involved in putting this film together, I am a bit disappointed that there is no cast commentary track. All you get is a fairly standard making-of and a bunch of deleted scenes, none of which really add anything, except for the alternative ending which gives the post-credits sting a bit more context. Overall, I’d say this is a keeper only if you’re a devoted fan of one of the leads.

*According to Rotten Tomatoes anyway. I haven’t seen it.

6 comments

  1. fernandorafael · April 24, 2012

    Nice review. As much as I loved Fleischer and Eisenberg’s first collaboration, Zombieland, I’ll be skipping this. Seems incredibly unfunny.

    • Ryan McNeely · April 24, 2012

      I wouldn’t call it unfunny, but I think it could have been funnier

  2. Melanie Long · April 24, 2012

    Thanks for the review. Been wondering whether this movie is worth seeing. I also really like Aziz Ansari on Parks & Rec.

    • Ryan McNeely · April 24, 2012

      Hey, you’re welcome. I haven’t seen any Parks & Rec. Is it worth watching?

      • Melanie Long · April 24, 2012

        Yeah! It’s on my list of weekly shows to watch. The humor is a bit off the wall, but the character development is great

  3. mhuard5 · April 24, 2012

    I completely agree with your review. It is good enough and mildly entertaining, but not as much as it should have been.

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

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