By Caitlyn Collins | August 12, 2011
Writer: Michael Diliberti
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Dilshad Vadsaria, Fred Ward
Once again Hollywood displays its love of juvenile humor, as much of the “humor” in 30 Minutes or Less is without question aimed toward the sensibilities of a thirteen-year-old boy. None of the characters are worthy of admiration as they lie, steal, blow things up and talk about finger-banging the majority of the film.
Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a fast driving, pot smoking and utterly aimless (unless he’s delivering a pizza) delivery boy for Vito’s Pizza, whose motto is you’ll get your pizza in thirty minutes or less or it’s free. Nick lives with his best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), who lives for blow jobs, beer and videogames and has only recently moved up from Nick’s position by accepting a full-time job as an elementary school teacher. The two argue about who is the better man after Chet realizes Nick is in love with his sister, Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria), each revealing the less than noble deeds they’ve done behind the others backs over the years.
Dwayne (Danny McBride) is a thirty-something douchebag who lives off the lottery money won by his father, The Major (Fred Ward). Dwayne has every characteristic of every role Danny McBride has played: juvenile, arrogant, ignorant and almost incapable of talking about anything other than himself or pussy. Of course, every little man needs a sidekick to make himself feel more valuable, and Dwayne’s bomb-building friend Travis (Nick Swardson) fills the role beautifully.
When the Major pushes Dwayne a little too far, being the genius he is, he goes to a strip club to think. While giving Dwayne a lap dance, Juicy (Bianca Kajlich) reveals that she knows a guy that can take care of The Major. Dwayne persuades Travis of the merits of offing The Major and the two devise a plan so as not to get caught. They decide to build a bomb vest in order to force someone to rob a bank (they need cash to pay the hitman after all), but how to lure a poor sucker to them? Order a pizza, of course!
What ensues is madness without any hilarity. Gorilla-masked Dwayne and Travis (who also decides to act like a monkey for some reason) drug Nick and strap him with a bomb with orders to rob a bank or else they’ll blow him to pieces. Nick reconciles with Chet by going to his school (uh, last place I’d go as Chet rightly points out) and the two devise a plan for robbing the bank.
But first, Nick has a few errands to run. After declaring his love to Kate and giving his boss a big “fuck you,” the two head to the Family Dollar to purchase what the cashier deems a “rape kit.” Dwayne and Travis follow Nick’s every move to make sure he follows through with the robbery. Surprisingly, the duo manage to successfully rob the bank without much harm to anyone save a minor flesh wound after several people toss a gun around as if it weren’t a deadly weapon.
Nick and Chet leave the bank amazed at their achievement only to be stopped by a police officer. A police chase ensues, leaving multiple vehicles flipped and crush, including their own, but they manage to escape. It’s hard to believe an explosive vest would not blow up during a terrible crash; it’s a miracle.
Dwayne instructs Nick on where to take the money but instead of showing up himself sends Chango (Michael Pena) the soft-spoken hitman and Juicy to meet Nick, who quickly realizes Dwayne has no intention of giving him the code to unlock the bomb vest. He and Chet take the money and run.
The rest of the film is a back and forth of each group trying to take the money and deciding whether or not to kill in the process. It’s formulaic, flat and not comical. If there is a saving grace to be found in 30 Minutes or Less it lies in the film’s brevity, coming in thankfully at eighty-three minutes or less.