30 Minutes or Less is a film that fully understands how to use its talented cast. It also knows how important it is to not overstay your welcome. When you have terrifically funny actors such as Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Michael Pena, and Danny McBride, you just get out of their way and let them do what they do best. You let them work off each other, improvise, let loose, and have fun. You also know when it’s time to wrap up the show and call it a day, as is evident by its 83 minute running time.
30 Minutes or Less follows Jesse Eisenberg, a cocky, self-centered pizza boy with only one friend that still puts up with him. He’s played by Aziz Ansari of Parks and Recreation. He’s pretty much the opposite of the Eisenberg character, as he’s a substitute teacher that does things the right way. Their friendship comes to an abrupt end after they reveal details surrounding their childhood and Aziz’s sister. They vow to never speak to each other again. This doesn’t last long as Eisenberg needs help when he gets a bomb strapped to him by two crazy criminals played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson. They want him to rob a bank and get them enough money to hire a hit man, played by Michael Pena, to kill McBride’s father, which will lead to an inheritance. Aziz agrees to help only because he doesn’t want to deal with the quilt if anything were to happen to his former best friend.
Needless to say, Aziz and Eisenberg are not exactly criminals. They go to the local dollar store and put together a bank robbery kit. The cashier, however, sees it as a rape kit. What unfolds after this I won’t divulge, but I will say hilarity ensues. Eisenberg’s character here is still a smart ass like he played in Social Network, but he’s more of a poor Mark without the brains. Aziz is his usual zany and manic self in this film and provides some of the biggest laughs. McBride adds his cocky, man-child persona to this project, and who does it better than McBride? Swardson is clueless, helpless and also sympathetic when the film calls for it.
When it’s all said and done, 30 Minutes or Less is successful because of the cast and the crazy situations that director Ruben Fleischer of Zombieland puts them in. He sets up the scene, lets them work their magic, and we all win. As stated in the opening paragraph, the 83 minute running time is perfect for a flick like this. You go in, you watch it, you laugh, you smile, and you go home happy. This film provides some of the biggest laughs of the summer, and I am going to go on record and say that this is the funniest film of 2011 so far. This is improv comedy at its finest, and you have four actors who make it worth our while.
How should you see it? See it on the big screen