Friday, August 12, 2011

Movie with Abe: 30 Minutes or Less

30 Minutes or Less
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Released August 12, 2011

Buddy movies present an intriguing opportunity to bring together two actors whose résumés and typical roles may be entirely different and to see what happens when they play off of each other. “Cop Out,” for instance, paired action star Bruce Willis with TV personality Tracy Morgan, with less than stellar results. “30 Minutes or Less” takes recent Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg, famous for playing nervous, dorky heroes, with Aziz Ansari, a stand-up comedian currently residing on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” In theory, Eisenberg and Ansari are a great match, yet the execution of the film leaves plenty to be desired.

This film falls into the unfortunate category in which the trailer for the film is markedly better than the finished product, mainly because all of the funny scenes are contained within the two-minute preview. There are certainly hilarious lines and situations to be found in “30 Minutes or Less,” but the trouble is that the construction of the plot is terribly lazy and realized in an extremely poor manner. Far-fetched comedies like “Horrible Bosses” have shown that it’s possible to frame a ridiculous premise in a thought-out and well-planned movie, and that’s not the case here, which, at best, is disappointing.

The dialogue is pretty much universally crude and features the kind of expressions and verbal mannerisms that might be found in a universe created by Judd Apatow. At times it’s over-the-top, and at others it’s genuinely funny. That’s one area in which the film doesn’t falter entirely, since Eisenberg and especially Ansari are adept at making that kind of dialogue sound believable. Danny McBride, as the film’s villain Dwayne, also mouths off the most vile of lines with a purpose, and it’s a real shame that his character is so weakly written since he’s proven capable of doing great things with despicable characters on HBO’s “Eastbound & Down.” He does the best he can with what he’s given here, which starts off great but eventually becomes lamentable.

Aside from any issues anyone might take with the fact that a pizza delivery boy was in fact killed after a bomb was strapped to him and he was forced to rob a bank, this film doesn’t deliver the kind of entertainment it should. With the exception of a few humorous conversations and scenarios, the film falls flat, and it devolves into illogical gibberish midway through without much hope of returning to coherence. It’s not all awful, but with this cast and Ruben Fleischer, the director of “Zombieland,” at the helm, it should have been much, much better.


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