The summer of 2011 has been a revival of the raunchy and foul-mouthed R-rated comedy. “Bridesmaids,” “The Hangover Part II,” “Horrible Bosses” and “Bad Teacher” have all been box office successes, and while “30 Minutes or Less” may be one of the last of the summer offerings, it keeps the momentum going for this genre.
Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swarsdon) are two friends without jobs, prospects or lives. They spend all day playing video games, watching movies, drinking beer and living off of the $10 million Dwayne’s despised father won in a lottery. To inherit the money, Dwayne decides to kill his dad. But in order to get the $100,000 needed for a hit man, he straps a bomb to a stranger and forces him to rob a bank for the $100,000, or else the bomb will explode in 10 hours. The poor victim turns out to be pizza delivery man Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), who convinces his best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) to help him pull off the caper.
The plot is extremely silly, but that’s a big part of the film’s charm. All four lead characters are basically simpletons who do nothing but drink and watch movies, so Dwayne’s misguided plan makes perfect sense to him. He considers it “thinking like a millionaire.” It’s also perfectly normal for Nick and Chet to go to the local supermarket to buy ski masks and plastic toy guns for the bank heist. It never occurs to these characters that these things don’t happen in real life, since they’ve been living in a fantasy world. Chet even tells Nick that everything he needs to know about robbing a bank can be learned from the movie “Point Break.” I loved that no one ever stops to think that their actions are crazy.
The actors playing the four leads all do a great job supplying the laughs. Eisenberg is the one true actor of the bunch and is responsible for moving the plot along, but also holding his own with the other proven comedians. Ansari is great as his sidekick. I definitely would like to see more of him in the future. McBride and Swarsdon are also entertaining as the bumbling “masterminds,” although McBride seems to repeatedly play the same foul-mouthed, sex obsessed, white-trash character in all his films. Michael Pena also gives a hilarious performance as the hitman for hire.
Unlike many comedies, the laughs are consistent throughout the film. Comedies often start off strong, but then fade, sacrificing gags for plot resolution. But “30 Minutes or Less” keeps the laughs coming until the end credits, and after a brisk 83 minutes, I found myself wanting even more.
“30 Minutes or Less”, 83 minutes, is Rated R and is in theatres now.