Film wastes a lot more than 30 minutes

30 Minutes or Less isn’t an awful film, mind you. An ‘80s-style caper comedy with a penchant for sailor talk, it’s passable if you’re in the mood for such an animal

Aziz Ansari (left) and Jesse Eisenberg in Columbia Pictures' 30 Minutes or Less.

Aziz Ansari (left) and Jesse Eisenberg in Columbia Pictures' 30 Minutes or Less.

Did Jessie Eisenberg lose a bet?

30 Minutes or Less isn’t an awful film, mind you. An ‘80s-style caper comedy with a penchant for sailor talk, it’s passable if you’re in the mood for such an animal. But don’t forget, Eisenberg was up for an Oscar mere months ago. Love it or hate it, you’ve gotta admit that 30 Minutes or Less isn’t just a step down from where this guy has been, it’s like he tumbled down a whole flight of stairs, landing on his head at the bottom.

However, the dude’s presence is good news for the film, ‘cause he’s great in it — miscast, maybe, but great nonetheless.

Eisenberg plays Nick, a 20-something slacker who delivers pizzas in sleepy Grand Rapids, Mich. His ho-hum existence gets a good jolt when he’s kidnapped by two bumbling schemers (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson), stuffed into a bomb vest and ordered to come up with $100,000 or they’ll blow him to pieces.

Terrified, Nick turns to his best friend, elementary school teacher Chet (Aziz Ansari), and asks him to assist in robbing a bank so he can hand off the loot. Meantime, McBride, wanting the cash so he can hire a hitman to kill his rich bully father (Fred Ward) and collect his inheritance, doesn’t take into account the many ways such a plan could backfire, because … well, because he’s an idiot.

I probably don’t need to tell you, 30 Minutes or Less is one of those exercises that dangles a few sub-plots and has them all colliding on the home stretch in one big chaotic kablam. Director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and writer Michael Diliberti rub enough polish on this thing that they’ll try to fool you that it’s a slick, much more intelligent vehicle than what appears. Well, don’t buy it. The brains involved in assembling 30 Minutes or Less could fit into a Kinder egg.

What it does have going for it is a real bounce in its step. A good burst of energy at every turn masks a lot of the film’s shortcomings — case in point, I rarely enjoy McBride’s arrogant slob (he plays the same character in every movie he’s ever been in), but here, buckled into Fleischer’s lightning pace and goofy environment, the guy’s so stupid, it works. Come to think of it, so is the film.

Out of a possible five stars, I’ll give 30 Minutes or Less a two and a half. The feature is currently playing the Pen-Mar Cinema Centre in Penticton.

Jason Armstrong is a movie reviewer living in the Okanagan.


Just Posted

Wade Cudmore, seen here with his mother Kathy Richardson, had his first court appearance in relation to first degree murder charges in the deaths of Erick and Carlo Fryer Tuesday, June 22, 2021. (Kathy Richardson/Facebook)
Man charged in Naramata double homicide appears in Penticton court

Wade Cudmore appeared for the first time in relation to first degree murder charges

(John Arendt - Black Press)
Penticton wants to give you money to make something fun happen in the city

City launches community grant program to help post-COVID recovery

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

With high temperatures forecasted for the week and into the next, Interior Health is offering some tips on how to keep yourself safe from heat-related illness. (Pixabay)
Interior Health offers safety tips as temperatures soar

‘Too much heat can be harmful to your health’

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
5-storeys still too tall for Penticton’s downtown, votes city council

Vote against new development leaves one councillor questioning validity of city’s zoning restrictions

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

Council members and witnesses from the Hupacasath First Nation, left, and Tseshaht First Nation, right, prepare to raise their respective flags in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday, June 21, 2021. The flags will permanently fly as part of the city’s reconciliation work. See more coverage from the flag raising ceremony on page A5. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Vancouver Island First Nations flags to fly permanently at city hall

Addition of flags are one Port Alberni response to reconciliation

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, an Okanagan based-law practice, and provides Kelowna Capital News with weekly stories from the world of local, national and international law. (Contributed)
Kootnekoff: Access to justice and residential schools in Canada

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

Mayla Janzen and Ashley Hoppichler, with her daughters Lily and Sophia, are bringing a Friday evening market to Polson Park, starting July 2. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Entrepreneurs craft up Vernon night market

Friday evening Polson Park event to take place throughout the summer

Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian and Tina William lead the Every Child Matters March in Enderby Monday, June 21. (Lyndsey Leon photo)
Hundreds march with Splatsin in Enderby for #215

300 orange-shirt wearing people of all backgrounds turned out in support

Most Read