30 Minutes or Less
30 Minutes or Less isn’t necessarily a movie that will blow your socks off, but it is certainly one of the most consistent and funniest comedies I’ve seen this year thus far. Jesse Eisenberg who plays Nick, a pizza boy strapped to a bomb and forced to rob a bank, does a great job making a character with flaws but whom we can also cheer for. Aziz Ansari as his best friend Chet is also great as he’s just a genuinely nice guy forced to do terrible things. Hearing him thank the bank teller very politely after just threatening her life is a good example of this hilarious contradiction.
Danny McBride and Nick Swardson play the two doofuses who plant the bomb to Nick in order to get the money. They think they’re criminal masterminds, though are far from. Its hard to have sympathy for McBride’s character, but you certainly do for Swardson’s Travis. They play off each other well, just like Eisenberg and Ansari do.
The plot actually holds this movie together more than the comedy, which is a good thing. They have a Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels thing going here, where the main characters keep getting themselves deeper and deeper while many other elements which are out of their control are happening around them. It creates an unpredictable element and is a lot of fun to watch.
One reason I liked this comedy so much is because it genuinely made me laugh without making me go through a bunch of junk to do so. Its not wall to wall with laughter, but that’s because they actually focus on the story more than most comedies. But there are some great lines(“You just brought a gun to a bomb fight officer!”) and some great situational jokes like when they are trying to steal a car. But this comedy existed in the absence of IQ-lowering gross-out gags, which every other comedy seems like its their duty to provide, and with very few jokes that fell flat. It has a high ratio of funny to lame, making it a consistently good time at the movies.