Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Dilshad Vadsaria, Michael Peľa, Bianca Kajlich, Fred Ward
Written by: Michael Diliberti, based on a story by Michael Diliberti, Matthew Sullivan
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity and some violence
Running Time: 83
Date: 08/12/2011
IMDB

30 Minutes or Less (2013)

3 Stars (out of 4)

This Is the Bomb

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg re-teams with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, and the result is not quite as clever as that hit, but 30 Minutes or Less is still not bad. It's like a live-action version of a vulgar, violent cartoon, cheerful, willfully subversive, speedy, and lightweight. The filmmakers have gone out of their way to nab an "R" rating -- which seems to be a trend this summer -- inserting all kinds of beer-drinking, pot-smoking, and gratuitous nudity, though the strong language is often put to hilarious use.

In Grand Rapids, MI, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) has generally not lived up to his potential. He works as a pizza delivery man, and his only friend is schoolteacher Chet (Aziz Ansari); Nick is also secretly in love with Chet's sister. Meanwhile, Dwayne (Danny McBride) is fed up watching his lottery-winner father (Fred Ward) waste all his riches, and decides, along with his buddy (Nick Swardson), to hire a contact killer and take out the old man. To do this, they need money. So they conjure up a plan to kidnap a pizza delivery man, strap a bomb to his chest, and force him to rob a bank. Nick becomes the recipient, and calls on Chet for help. What follows is a crazy, reckless race against time. Will our heroes survive the day?

The violence, on the other hand, almost seems a bit displaced, especially the use of the bomb vest; it recalls all-too-serious images from the news. Regardless, the movie never stops being fast, funny, or crazy, and the combination of talent helps sell it. Eisenberg turns in a believably panicked performance, and he's nicely matched by stand-up comic Ansari. Even the bad guys show their humanity from time to time, and Fred Ward is a scream as the nasty old dad.

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