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Film Review: 30 Minutes Or Less

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by Matt Elliot Taylor (subscribe)
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon
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Bombs, banks, brawls, blazes, and a barrage of jokes. All are words that are not only associated with the starting letter of "B" but also Ruben Fleischer's latest action-comedy 30 Minutes Or Less. If Point Break [1991] was a "How-To" guide for bank robberies (according to Aziz Ansari's character of Chet), then this is a "How-To" guide for thinking you could actually get away with it the way Patrick Swayze and his crew do.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a carefree, reckless and conniving 20-something-year-old who works (reluctantly) for a local pizza place that guarantees "if your pizza doesn't reach you in 30 minutes or less you get it free." Meanwhile, two slightly older and dumber stay-at-home "gung-hos" Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) propose that in order to kill Dwayne's father and inherit his so-called fortune, they need $100,000 to pay a hitman to do the deed. But wait, this is when they become geniuses - instead of robbing a bank themselves they force someone else to do it. Upon seeing an advertisement for "30 minutes or less" they decide to kidnap the delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest and give him 10 hours to rob a bank or he blows up: the poor delivery guy happens to be Nick, obviously.

Director Ruben Fleischer (of Zombieland [2009] fame) seems to have found something of a muse in Eisenberg and although this might give way to a series of typecast roles, it isn't necessarily so in this case. Yes, he again plays a character who is thrust into a dangerous situation he can't control, and yes, he again can't seem to win with women (in the beginning), but he is helped along by an intriguing premise and some interesting and sometimes funny supporting characters, most notably the aforementioned Aziz Ansari (from TV's Parks And Recreation) who has some wonderful antics and physical comedy skills. What adds to the comedy is the sheer panic of the situation and as a result, the film is quite fast-paced, but it's got to be. It lets down in scenes when it feels like jokes are just thrown into the script for the sake of it, mostly on the topic of sex, but hey, that's what teenagers want to see.

In summation, Ruben Fleischer's 30 Minutes Or Less lacks somewhat in the originality department and doesn't exactly trump his prior apocalyptic zombie-ridden hit, but fans of Zombieland will enjoy this fun, quirky and fast-paced little movie. If you're one of those, then you'll feel like it's over in 30 minutes or less, but if you're not, you may want it to be.

*** out of *****

The film is currently in limited national release so check your local cinema for details.
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Why? Catch the latest fun action film from the director of 'Zombieland'
When: Check your local cinema for details
Where: Your local cinema
Cost: Check your local cinema for details
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