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30 Minutes or Less - Review

30 Minutes or Less

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

YOU’VE got to hand it to Ruben Fleischer for the way in which he consistently seems to be able to deliver sharp, funny comedies that offer an effortlessly crowd-pleasing night at the flicks.

With Zombieland he created a true blast of a zombie action flick, complete with one of the greatest cameos of all-time, and now with 30 Minutes or Less, he takes on the heist movie to similarly winning effect.

The set-up is equally as silly but plays to the strengths of an endearing cast. Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a nerdy pizza delivery boy with the hots for his college buddy Chet (Aziz Ansari)’s sister, who finds himself kidnapped by a murderous pot-head named Dwayne (Danny McBride) so that he can rob a bank and use the money to pay a hit-man to take out his millionaire dad.

As an incentive, Nick has a bomb strapped to his chest and so only has a limited window of opportunity to pull off the bank job… which he does with the help of Chet only to realise what Dwayne really has in store for them.

As absurd as it sounds, Fleischer’s film continuously delivers the laughs, whether through the situation comedy the hapless bank robbers find themselves in, or via the constant bickering the two of them take part in.

Eisenberg is on typically smart-alec, motor-mouthed form but in a more self-deprecating manner that before (even nodding to his Social Network alter-ego in one deliciously throw-away joke), while Ansari is great fun as his side-kick and foil.

McBride, meanwhile, riffs on the usual McBride formula but is better served by the slick script, while there are appealing supporting performances from the likes of Michael Pena’s deranged assassin, Fred Ward as Dwayne’s grizzled dad, and Dilshad Vadsaria as Chet’s appealing sister.

Fleischer, meanwhile, pays neat homage to the buddy action comedies of the ‘80s (from Beverly Hills Cop to Lethal Weapon) while introducing some signature moves of his own, and throws in plenty of twists in its brief running time to keep viewers on their toes.

Not every joke hits and the whole scenario requires you to go with its zanier elements but 30 Minutes Or Less is a smart, care-free, short and highly amusing slice of popcorn fun that will definitely put a smile on your face and keep it there for the duration.

Next stop for Fleischer is the star-studded cop drama Gangster Squad (featuring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin, to name but three), which sees him stepping up into the really big leagues. It should be fascinating to see how he makes the switch.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 83mins
UK Release Date: September 16, 2011