Saturday, December 3, 2011

30 Minutes or Less

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

30 Minutes or Less - 3 out of 5

Here's the story...The Generic Brand Michael Cera is a pizza delivery guy who is duped by Kenny "Fucking" Powers and the rollerskater gay man; Terry into robbing a bank by strapping a bomb to his chest.  Left with no choice, the Generic Brand Michael Cera enlists the help of Tom Haverford in the heist.  The plan is for Kenny "Fucking" Powers and Terry to use the money to hire a hitman to kill Kenny's father, Earl Bassett.  Then, if all goes as plan, hilarity should ensue.

Fred Ward (Tremor's Earl Bassett) was in this film?  I thought he was dead.  Seriously, Fred, I thought you were dead.

Sadly, it really doesn't...much.

30 Minutes or Less had some great promise to it.  The story is ripe for a dark comedy (and, believe it or not, a situation similar to the story actually happened.  The writer claims he had no knowledge of the real-life event).  However, two major problems stopped the film from hitting what could have been either a good or great comedy and ended up landing directly in the mildly amusing category.  The problems being cast and the writing.  I will give the writing a slight pass because it was the first motion length film by a former grunt worker in the industry (he use to be an assistant); Michael Diliberti.  You can see that he's really trying in the film even though most of his gags fall flat on their face.  Assuming gags actually have faces.

The second problem comes in the form of the cast.  Now there's some really funny people here but the problem is we're seeing them do the exact same schtick we've seen them do a hundred times over.  The Generic Brand Michael Cera a.k.a. Jesse Eisenberg is sticking to his method of playing the same character he's played in every single film he's been in--you know, the socially awkward, mysteriously arrogant and always talking down about others around him for being cliches yet his act is cliche in itself.  That individual he always plays and somehow gets cast in films for it.  Is there really that much of a call for this annoying character that ends up hurting comedic flow more than helping it?  I'll never know.

I can't be the only one who thinks his voice sounds like someone rapidly turning the volume up and down on a radio.

It's nice to see Swardson get work without Adam
Sandler getting it for him.
So, Eisenberg brings down the film for me but you would think having Kenny "Fucking" Powers (often called by his real name; Danny McBride) would make up for Eisenberg's hammy acting and inability to deliver any realistic emotion.  McBride is funny but he's playing his character EXACTLY like Kenny Powers, so where's the originality there?  He's a funny guy but every line he utters feels like it was taken from his HBO series Eastbound & Down.  However, Terry (also sometimes referred to by his real name Nick Swardson) acts as a decent counterpart to McBride and is able to deviate from characters we've already seen him play and pretty much saves those scenes.  However, Swardson often feels underutilized throughout the film.

I can't wait till McBride starts playing someone OTHER than Kenny Powers.

The true shining light in this movie comes in the form of Aziz Ansari--know mostly for his performance as Tom Haverford in Parks & Recreation.  While the character he portrays in this one often resembles his character on the hit comedy series, he does offers the true, from the gut, laughs that this movie will sparingly give to you.  Sure, most of his jokes are repetitive and you will find yourself saying, "Wait, didn't I just see that same joke no less than 30 seconds ago?" but when you consider that any truly hilarious scene will never come, you kinda take what you can get.

Sure Ansari is a one-joke pony in this movie but he's really the only funny you'll get from this one.  Take it or leave it.

Dudes in monkey masks?  Why wasn't this movie absolutely
Now, I know I'm sounding incredibly harsh on the film but 30 Minutes or Less can be slightly entertaining.  Sure, the majority of the actors are using characters they've already used in the past or are currently using and at no point did I really give a loud, resounding laugh.  In fact, I really only chuckled at some scenes with Swardson and Ansari but the story is pretty original in a industry that gives us nothing but reboots, remakes and sequels and, to top it off, the film never resorts to lame gags like animals humping each other or crude dick and fart jokes to get laughs.  In a world that vomits this up and has the nerve to call it a comedy, if you can get laughs without resorting to that, your comedy isn't that bad and may have some redeeming qualities.

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