30 Minutes or Less

{30 Minutes or Less opened in Seattle on Friday August 12, and is playing at the Metro, Oak Tree Cinemas, and AMC Pacific Place} 

We've all had those days. You're minding your own business, delivering pizzas at a dangerous rate of speed when a couple of get rich quick lazy dipshits go out of their way to totally harsh your buzz. But when their plan is to strap a bunch of explosives to your chest in order to coerce you into robbing a bank, most people would agree things have gone too far.

That's basically the premise of 30 Minutes or Less – a comedy that crams a lot of things into a pretty short span of time. While overall it may be a bit silly, I had a good time. And it's edited in a way that shows a respect for movie-goers who don't feel the need to sit through a two and a half hour bloated endeavor when there's really only 90 minutes of material to be had.
Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is an adult delivering pizzas for a living. Why this level of achievement is enough for him isn't exactly clear. In the meantime, he makes due with with his crappy job and unexpressed (yet obvious) love for the twin sister of his male best friend/roommate. It's probably bearable because he feels he has plenty of time ahead of him to sort life out. Since he doesn't know the time of his passing, that strategy has a predictable flaw. And even fewer can guess when two assholes will kidnap him, strap a bomb to his chest and send him forth to rob a bank. So it's easy to have sympathy that Nick didn't really see this one coming.
Why he's strapped to a bomb is laid out quickly and clearly. Why he never expresses his love until he may have hours to live is more opaque. But that's fine, as the film packs the 82 minutes it's got with so many goings on, bits of tension, and jokes that there's not much to find fault with motivations wise. It's a tightly edited bit of buddy comedy adventure that has cut the fat to the bone. Rare is the film that feels like it has just enough scenes and no more. But that's pretty much what I think you get here. If anything, I was left wanting more conversation of any sort involving Aziz Ansari, who plays Nick's roommate Chet.
While I often find Eisenberg a little boring, his laid back yet manic onscreen persona is a good contrast with the more colorful members of the cast. Aziz Ansari is just great as the deeply wronged (at least in his mind) best friend. Danny McBride and Nick Swardson as the villains of the piece are awesome as well. Dare I say it? There are moments I even briefly feel sorry for them. Though more often I'm laughing at their foul-mouthed wannabe entrepreneur stupidity. I won't take a step further into the plot. Go in fresh, go in with the expectation that you're not going to see deep deep material and that quite a few antics of questionable ethics will be portrayed. But do go – because ultimately is was pretty darn funny. And honestly compared to Captain America some other recent films, this one brings a feeling of true peril at times that works to enhance the chuckles. Plus it's nice to see some R-rated comedy that's conversational in nature and not people getting poo in their mouths. Just saying…
By the way – I've been told that you should sit through the credits fully for some bonus material. That's the sort of thing I wish someone had told me before I saw it and left when the names started to roll. You're welcome…