Special Photo: Sony/Columbia. Jesse Eisenberg, left, and Aziz Ansari star in "30 Minutes or Less."
30 Minutes or Less (R)
1 1/2 out of 4 stars
Before half of its mercifully short 83 minutes pass, you realize “30 Minutes or Less” is already about 10 minutes too long and wish the title was literal.
Typical of what studios generally choose to dump and leave for dead in August, “30 Minutes or Less” is a slacker/fan boy’s delight. It’s got naked women, drugs, pizza, beer, pointless explosions, dudes with tattoos shooting guns, car chases, lots of profanity and a couple of brain dead slacker/fan boys.
In all fairness, “30 Minutes” does have some scenes that are genuinely funny, but are subsequently negated after they’re repeated, two of them more than once. If after watching it you say to yourself — “didn’t I see something just like that on the news a while back?” — you won’t be alone. Something like it did actually happen but with a far more dire and serious outcome. What better source for comedy than real-life tragedy?
Lead Jesse Eisenberg (as Nick) reteams with his “Zombieland” director Reuben Fleisher. Any way you cut it this is a backward career move for Eisenberg.
Nick is a pizza delivery guy in Grand Rapids, Mich., working for a restaurant that is nowhere near the bulk of its customers. Consequently Nick is never able to deliver the pies in 30 minutes or less and must pay for the product out of his own pocket.
In another part of town living in what passes for upscale in Grand Rapids is Dwayne (Danny McBride), a mouth-breathing troglodyte who by comparison makes Nick come off looking like a young Donald Trump. Dwayne and his stooge sidekick Travis (Nick Swardson) spend their days blowing up produce and mooching off of Dwayne’s father (Fred Ward), an ex-Marine and lottery winner.
After being sweet-talked by a stripper, Dwayne comes up with a hair-brained scheme that could easily land him in the Stupid Criminal Hall of Fame. For $100,000, the stripper will get her gangbanger boyfriend (Michael Pena) to kill Dwayne’s father thus allowing Dwayne to inherit millions. There’s just one small problem. Dwayne doesn’t have two nickels of his own to rub together much less $100K, so he and Travis will rob a bank.
Ever the mastermind, Dwayne realizes that actually robbing a bank would be dangerous so he and Travis build an explosives-laden vest they plan on strapping to a kidnap victim who will do what they say or else he will go bye-bye in little tiny blood-soaked pieces. How will they find such a candidate? They order a pizza, of course.
If watching stupid and/or unlucky people go through a series of even stupider criminal motions intrigues you, “30 Minutes” will more than satisfy your easy-to-please, borderline wanton cravings. It strives to achieve little and succeeds in spades.
It took longer than normal, but a studio finally delivered a summer movie that fits in with the expected low-quality level this time of year. (Sony/Columbia)