Quote of the Day

"We're only here briefly, and while I'm here I want to allow myself joy. So fuck it."
- Amy, Her.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

RE:View: 30 Minutes or Less

Coming from the mind behind Zombieland, we all knew 30 Minutes or Less wasn't going to be a failure. We were, perhaps, a little cautious of it though, with the trailers not dealing out a load of laughs and the plot being somewhat daft and pointless. However, these worries are thrown out straight out of the window once the film itself gets going, and while not reaching quite the high that Zombieland achieved, it's still a solid comedy worthy of your money.

    The story is - on the surface - simple; Pizza Delivery Boy, Nick (The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg) gets kidnapped by two dim-witted, melon shooting drop-outs (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) who, in a "brilliant" get-rich-quick plan, strap a bomb to Nick and tell him to rob a bank. He can't remove the bomb, he can't go near a police station and he's got 10 hours. Nick's got no choice but to get the money with the aid of his buddy Chet (Aziz Ansari) and escape the cops.

Intimidating, eh?
    But things get complicated with the various twists and turns, involving a Hispanic hitman, flamethrowers and a few madcap car chases and shoot-outs. The robbery itself is actually a fairly short scene, but provides some of the biggest laughs of the movie, with Eisenberg and Ansari playing the apologetic "armed" thieves down to a tee. Their chemistry works well together, and some tightly scripted dialogue ("what's your hispanic criminal name?") between the two are sweetly executed.

   On the flip-side, there's Swardson and McBride lending their stoner-type comedy to the moronic Travis and Dwayne. Thankfully, McBride hasn't been as free with the ad-libbing he's become known for (something that in my opinion dragged Your Highness down), so the consistency of humour is more fluent around their scenes, but there's still plenty of dick jokes flying around (maybe a few too many). Through their "genius" escapades of tracking the innocent bank-robbing duo, their ideas to open a brothel-cum-tanning salon is revealed, and things just refuse to go according to plan.

See, a flamethrower!
Overall, the real comedy, as I found it, came more from Ansari and Swardson's characters; the sidekicks. Ansari fires out hilarious lines left, right and centre as the confused, reluctant and warming Chet, using his ethnicity as an Indian to great effect. While Swardson is the slow, innocent follower of Dwayne, who gets caught up in this without ever properly understanding it, conveyed through his off-comments and facial expressions at his bat-crap crazy friend.

For its short running time of merely 83 minutes, 30 Minutes or Less hardly lets up on the pace, thundering this sense of urgency all the way through, making the third act a triumphant culmination of craziness and comedy. The abruptness of the ending, though slightly unexpected, comes just at the right time and finishes with the same sort of tone that the past hour and a quarter has laid down.

Director Ruben Fleischer may not have matched his Zombie fuelled debut in terms of style or physical comedy, but makes up for it in way of a more propelled plot and neater dialogue funnies. His well assembled cast pull together with each of their respective characters to make them what they are, Eisenberg in particular excelling at turning an unlikable loser into an unlikely hero audiences can root for (as is his way...). The plot's silly and unbelievable (although shockingly partly true), and doesn't always realistically add up, but makes for good popcorn viewing and some unpredictable laughs.  The theme of making something of your life and not sitting round like a loser until you've get ten hours to live, isn't at the forefront of the movie's objectives, but can linger in your mind in retrospect, which is a clever touch to an otherwise refreshingly bouncy film with a pinch of a dark undertone.

4/5 Stars.

And keep your ears sharp for the possible Social Network reference!

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