Don't waste your time
By Ann Hornaday
Friday, Aug 12, 2011
Ruben Fleischer made a promising directorial debut with the 2009 action comedy "Zombieland," which starred Jesse Eisenberg as a hapless student on an improbably amusing road trip to hell. That was before "The Social Network," though, and beholding Eisenberg in Fleischer's relentlessly vulgar and un-funny "30 Minutes or Less" is akin to watching a ring-tested champion punch far below his weight. What a comedown.
Eisenberg plays Nick, a pizza delivery guy who falls into a trap set by spoiled brat Dwayne (Danny McBride) to steal $100,000 to pay off a hit man to assassinate Dwayne's rich father. With a bomb strapped to his chest and only a few hours to find the money, Nick and his best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), cut a manic, destructive swath through Grand Rapids, Mich., surviving a ballistic bank robbery and pulverizing car crash and ongoing patter about sex, action flicks and sex.
Like "Horrible Bosses," "The Change-Up" and "The Hangover Part II," "30 Minutes or Less" plays like this summer's latest - and lamest - panegyric to male friendship. (Dwayne has a best friend, too, a bumbling toady played by the scene-stealing Nick Swardson.) Arriving in the dog days of mindless summer male-bonding blather, this installment feels as stale as one of Nick's perpetually cold pizzas. Eisenberg's chilly diffidence only makes the screenwriters of "30 Minutes or Less" seem more cynical; McBride literally phones it in, in long, talky, deadly-dull expository sequences. Would that "30 Minutes or Less" lived up to its title. Even under 90, it feels interminable.
Contains crude and sexual content, pervasive profanity, nudity and some violence.