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.

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

Penticton ANAVETS members want information on club closure

Club members haven’t been told when, or if, their club will reopen

Penticton Vees Teddy Bear Toss night

Game is on Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre against the Nanaimo Clippers

Meet two of BC’s tiniest service pups

Medical therapy dogs changed Princeton woman’s life

Group to observe the winter solstice at Pen Henge

Public invited to ‘Pen Henge’ on Munson Mountain in Penticton

Kelowna-developed app brings static images to life

Maxogram links static images to video for a whole new take on marketing and information

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Canadians lag behind Americans in giving to charity

Only one-in-five Canadians donated to charities in 2017

B.C. children adoption rates lagging, despite increased funding: watchdog

More than 1,000 children children are still waiting to be adopted, new report shows

Hurdles ahead for Sicamous off-road vehicle bylaw

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with district

FortisBC to lower natural gas rates in 2018

Rate changes to impact the Lower Mainland, Kootenays, Interior and Vancouver Island

Visit with Santa amidst the Big White snow

Snow lovers can head up to Big White this month to visit with Santa

Four-month-old baby girl critically injured in Toronto

Baby, a man and a woman in serious condition

Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

What were Canadians were curious about: Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

Democrat wins stunning red-state Alabama Senate upset

Democrat Doug Jones wins stunning red-state Alabama Senate upset against Roy Moore

Most Read