The R-rated comedy is alive and well this Summer, and 30 Minutes or Less gives the genre one more jolt of vitality. Jesse Eisenberg plays Nick, a twentysomething guy stuck in a dead-end pizza delivery job. One night he gets a delivery to a couple of lazy losers, Dwayne and Travis (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson), who need a middleman for the boneheaded get-rich-quick scheme they've just devised. The need money to hire a hit man to kill Dwayne's wealthy father so Dwayne can collect his inheritance. Instead of getting the money themselves, they strap a bomb to Nick's chest and demand that he figure out a way to get the money, or they'll detonate the poor guy.
Joining Nick on his do-or-die mission is his best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari), who begrudgingly agrees to help him in his endeavor, despite the fact that they'd been feuding, and you know, might end up in prison. The onscreen chemistry between Ansari and Eisenberg fuel their adventure, and a healthy amount of laughs make 30 Minutes or Less an enjoyable Summer morsel. To find out why else I liked the film, just
Ansari is the funniest of the cast as meek schoolteacher Chet. He's hilarious with simple bits like Chet's politeness, even while committing crimes. Then he'll break and take it to the hilarious extreme, gleefully channeling the ferocious thugs we've all seen on TV and in movies. Even though he's an unwilling partner at first, you can see Chet start to enjoy himself.
As the movie has more and more fun with its characters, you forget that Nick is in peril and focus on the fast pace and action-packed sequences. It's refreshing to see Eisenberg back in comedy after his poker-faced turn in The Social Network. His Nick is a relaxed slacker who doesn't that much too seriously, — until his bomb-vest renders him into a hilariously panicked pawn.
Dwayne and Travis are an amusing pair too, and they're so comically dim that it's hard for you to hate them, or even wish them ill will — you just hope that they don't blow up Nick. The main foursome does the comedic heavy lifting, but there's still room for scene-stealers. Michael Peña makes his part as a small-time hit man hilarious, vacillating from ruthless to ridiculous with little more than a voice inflection.
Though 30 Minutes or Less is raucously funny, it does tread on thin ice with its edgy humor — the homophobia and racism-fueled jokes are witless and offensive. It's a shame, because the rest of the jokes succeed, even when certain bits depend on violence. But aside from that, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride with these foul-mouthed characters — and at under 90 minutes, the movie is like a good pizza delivery boy, wasting no time to bring you the goods.