Remember that poor sap, Brian Douglas Wells, a pizza deliveryman who robbed a bank eight years ago with a bomb strapped to his neck? That bomb eventually detonated and killed the guy in an event that was decidedly unfunny.
Apparently, director Ruben Fleischer and his screenwriters remember Wells because they have made a movie about a pizza deliveryman forced to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to his body. Not Brian Douglas Wells, but a fictional pizza guy.
Like the event that killed Wells eight years ago, 30 Minutes or Less is decidedly unfunny.
You would have to come up with something so funny it would make the viewer laugh so hard blood came out of his or her nose to justify making this story into a comedy. (The filmmakers claim only a small, passing knowledge of the events that killed Wells. Yeah, right.) Fleischer and friends come up miles short with a movie that doesn’t even have enough material to fill 90 minutes.
Jesse Eisenberg plays Nick, an under-achieving pizza delivery guy who finds himself in the bomb predicament after two dumb-asses (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) force him into a bank robbery. They have a multi-tiered crime scheme that will eventually lead to the opening of their very own erotic tanning salon, and they need $100,000 to get the ball rolling.
Nick enlists the help of his schoolteacher friend Chet (Aziz Ansari, the only one who gets consistent laughs in this movie), who begrudgingly goes along to help with the robbery, even after Nick confesses to sleeping with Chet’s sister (Dilshad Vadsaria) on graduation night.
The movie is a mostly worthless, misguided affair featuring an undeniable roster of talent given material that is nothing more than a very bad idea at its core.
For starters, the movie tries to squeeze laughs repeatedly out of the art of pizza delivery. Nick often doesn’t deliver his pizzas on time, so the pizzas are free. Ha, ha, ha. Sometimes Nick scams the pizza recipients out of their money, anyway, because he’s so darned clever … hee, hee, hee.
Next up, why not make a movie out of how funny it is when the dude at the popcorn counter tries to up-sell you from a small to a medium popcorn? The person buying the popcorn could be, like, “Hey, I’m only one guy, and the medium will make me all fat if I eat it!” and the dude selling could be like, “Hey, but it’s only 75 cents more. Go for it and cough up the extra dough, you dick!”
Actually, I think my popcorn counter movie is a funnier idea than this pizza guy movie. And my popcorn counter movie idea sucks balls.
McBride hasn’t been catching any breaks this year at the cinemas. He’s a funny guy, but he’s lost here, as is Swardson. A trailer for an upcoming movie that Swardson headlines called Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star previewed before the move. I don’t like to prejudge a movie by its trailer, but it sure does look like pure, unadulterated dog shit.
Eisenberg is a charming actor, but I’m not sure he has the comedic goods to carry a funny movie. Ansari proves, yet again, he’s one of the more valuable supporting comedic performers out there, possessing the comic timing of the gods. I would have to call this movie awful without his presence. As it stands, it is almost a near miss thanks to Ansari’s work.
The mere existence of a movie like 30 Minutes or Less shows that Hollywood is desperate for ideas, so desperate they are drawing from tragic events that should be left alone.
A dramatic movie about that poor bastard getting blown up after a botched bank heist … well, maybe. A movie that tries to get you to laugh at somebody in an almost identical plight starring the ever-hilarious Jesse Eisenberg? Hell no!