When you think of a recent black comedy, what do you think of? Observe & Report? Pineapple Express? While not as dark or bizarre as those films, 30 Minutes or Less enjoys being vulgar for the sake of being vulgar. On its face, that’s not really a problem, but it leads to a lot of cheap humor, something that many of those films aspired to be better than. Don’t get me wrong, the film is funny, the action is spectacular, and the leads are lovably awful. With its small cast of characters, there aren’t many surprises here, but the chemistry makes it work.
Pathetic loser Dwayne (Danny McBride, and featured in those two films) wants to kill his father to inherit the last of his lottery winnings. He enlists his one friend Travis (a tolerable Nick Swardson) to help him to this end. He then snares Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) to use for his plot to pay an assassin to do the dirty work. Pathetic loser Nick is told to rob a bank for the assassin fund or the bomb vest he’s had strapped to him will go off. He enlists his one friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) to help him to this end. What follows is what appears to be a relatively straight-forward robbery and then, well, things get weird. The film even has enough time to have some sentimental mushy time for Nick to handle his non-relationship with Katie (Dilshad Vadsaria), Chet’s twin sister.
From Ruben Fleischer, the director of Zombieland! Starring Academy Award-nominated star of The Social Network, actor Jessie Eisenberg! With talent like that involved, you figure it’s going to be impossible for this movie to live up to the marketing’s hype. While not the best work from either, 30 Minutes or Less is still an enjoyably vulgar romp.