What We’re Watching

Hatchet staff writer Joel Goldberg shares his latest movie choice.

30 Minutes or Less” (2011)

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Who knew armed robbery was as easy as delivering a pizza?

“30 Minutes or Less,” starring Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride, relies upon convoluted plot twists to steer the film. The script has been the source of some controversy, because it closely resembles the case of a pizza delivery man from Erie, Pa. who attempted to rob a bank with a bomb dangling from his neck in 2003.

The real-life story provides ample detail to construct the narrative elements of a comedy. Yet, the writers of the film included another aspect, McBride’s father (Fred Ward), whose authoritarian parenting pushes his middle-aged pyromaniac of a son over the edge. As a result, the plot lines twist and tangle one too many times, and the whole thing goes “kablooey!”

Despite massive failure in the storytelling department, the film delivers what most audiences have paid to see: mind-over-face-blowing one-liners. A slew of heavily improvised bickering between seasoned comics McBride and Nick Swardson could cut seamlessly into an episode of “Eastbound and Down.” Most satisfying, however, is the performance of Aziz Ansari, whose role as Tom Haverford on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” only skims the talent of the angst-ridden comedian. A feud arises between Ansari and Eisenberg, when the latter shares the details of his relationship with Ansari’s twin sister. Teenage, or toddler-age, antics ensue as the enraged Ansari refuses to let his friend off the hook, even as his life hangs in the balance.

Amid the strippers, the flamethrowers, the car chases and the explosions, “30 Minutes or Less” delivers everything you expect from an absurd action comedy. Sadly, the writers get bogged down in their own messy creation, quieting the comedic thunder of the film.

You’re probably better off ordering Dominoes.

Genre: Comedy
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson
Release Date: 12 August 2011

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