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Review: 30 Minutes Or Less

PUBLISHED: 15:28 16 September 2011

30 Minutes Or Less

30 Minutes Or Less

Archant

One of the specialities of the Coen Brothers is portraying criminality as banal, chaotic and idiotic. In his follow up to Zombieland, Ruben Fleischer attempts something similar in a mainstream setting.

It’s the story of two inept loafers (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) who attach a bomb jacket to a hapless pizzadelivery boy (Jesse E-isenberg) and force him to rob a bank for them.

It’s like Fargo but, you know, for kids.

The film has laughs but little pleasure. It’s a mean little film with a dim view of its potential audience. The charac-ters’ lives revolve around eating crap, talking crap and watching crap.

It mocks its audience’s coarse stupidity, while offering it a serving of the exact same with a pretence of irony.

The main problem is that it fails to get you to buy into its situation. You never believe that two wasters like McBride and Swardson could even conceive such a scheme let alone have the conviction of their stupidity to fol-low through on it.

Similarly, very little Eisenberg does while under the duress of wearing an explosive device makes sense – espe-cially the ease with which he persuades his best friend Ansari to join him in the bank robbery.

It also seems casually unconcerned about his, absolutely terrifying, dilemma.

Of course, it’s bad timing coming out just a few weeks after the news story about an Australian teenage girl who endured an agonising 10 hours in a fake neck bomb.

But the film is supposedly based on a tragic true story (that of Brain Douglas Wells should you want to look it up), so a little empathy wouldn’t go amiss.

Fleichsher’s smart, funny and visually arresting debut film Zombieland suggested he could be something special, but you’d never guess this was by the same man. The casting doesn’t help.

Eisenberg always seems too smart to be this dead end delivery boy and Anzari’s main comic weapon is an incon-gruously whiney voice is approximately 33 per cent as annoying as Chris Tucker.

30 MINUTES OR LESS (15)

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Michael Pena and Fred Ward.

Length: 83 mins

**

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