Movie Review: 30 Minutes or Less

“30 Minutes or Less” on IMDB

Comedy, 83 Minutes, 2011

This was a really mixed bag.  There’s a lot of laughs but a lot of them are too easy and cheap as hell.  There are some fun performances and also some downright awful ones.  The story rolls well for most of the movie then plummets to one of the worst endings I’ve ever seen.

Like I said: a mixed bag.

Aziz Ansari is excellent.  Like many comedian actors he has exactly zero range but he’s damn funny and likable as hell.  Jesse Eisenberg’s timid confusion works well with the story as well (which is good because he also has zero range).  Fred Ward has always been a favorite and steals a few keys scenes with his brief screen-time.

One of the big issues with the movie overall is that Danny McBride is awful.  He just is and despite some honest effort I’ve never been able to find him funny or clever or useful in any way at all.  Raunch can’t replace actual dialog.  In my opinion movies succeed in spite of him, not because of him.  He’s insanely, deeply unlikable.

A deeper issue, one that’s easier to ignore, is that the plot lacks any kind of persistence.  Our lead character is forced to rob a bank… but as soon as he decides to go through with it he’s played completely as a criminal robbing a bank.  Once the money is out of the bank it becomes a lottery windfall for whomever can keep it.  There’s never again a mention of the source or any of those silly moral issues raised.  Motivations are raised, forgetting, re-raised, changed and contradicted willy-nilly.  All of this culminates in the aforementioned terrible (I mean horrible) ending.

The movie definitely has some high-points but to truly enjoy it (if you possibly can with Danny McBride constantly intruding) you’ll have to check your frontal lobe at the door.  It’s a shame tho’.  With a better villain and a decent ending this could have been worlds better.

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