30 Minutes or Less (Columbia Pictures, R)

30 Minutes or Less is, by far, the funniest and most fun of this summer’s R-rated comedies. The filmmakers give us a fast-paced movie with plenty of ridiculous laughs, action, and unexpected twists.

 

 

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) has a lot of real-world problems. His low-paying pizza delivery job sucks, his boss is a douche, and the girl of his dreams only sees him as best bud material. Well, there’s nothing like being kidnapped by two masked degenerates and forced to rob a bank with a live bomb strapped to your chest to make you appreciate the previous level of crap in your life, is there?

After his delivery to Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) goes haywire, Nick turns to his best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) for help. Knowing that they can’t go to the police, and with no way to defuse the bomb, Nick and Chet decide to go ahead with the robbery in the hopes of getting Nick out of this alive. Of course, everything does not go smoothly.

30 Minutes or Less is, by far, the funniest and most fun of this summer’s R-rated comedies. From the minute Nick is kidnapped to the last moment of the film, the filmmakers give us a fast-paced movie with plenty of ridiculous laughs, action, and unexpected twists. This is one of the few times I’ve left a screening knowing that if I’d paid for the experience, I would have totally gotten my money’s worth.

This film gave up some of the biggest laughs I’ve heard in a theater all summer. A lot of these come courtesy of Chet, who for example in describing Nick’s car says, “It’s like you bought a horse and then it got AIDS.” 30 Minutes or Less also features the funniest double shooting, explosion, and flame-thrower death I’ve seen. The movie manages the perfect equation of raunch, comedy, action, and bits of heartfelt emotion.

For instance, the friendship between Nick and Chet is like a lot of long-standing friendships. The guys are clearly buddies to the core, and yet they’ve also done some kind of awful things to one another. But, when they need each other most, they’re there. How many people do you know who’d be both willing to help you rob a bank and smart enough to help you both get out without a scratch?

McBride and Swardson make perfect foils for our protagonists. They may be underachieving miscreants, but they’re not completely stupid. The relationship between Dwayne and Travis is a lot like the one between Kenny and Stevie in McBride’s HBO series Eastbound & Down. Dwayne is clearly the alpha dog, but it turns out Travis is smarter and less willing to follow than it seems.

Ansari has already proven his hilariousness on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, and he shows again here that he’s an asset to any project he becomes involved in. Eisenberg has given Nick just the right amount of edge. Instead of full-on frantic survival, Nick is filled with a willful and reckless determination to get out alive. Certainly, Eisenberg makes for an unlikely action hero, but he does make you want to see more of him in this type of role.│Adrienne Jones

 

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