Friday, August 12, 2011

30 Minutes or Less


Every action comedy wants to be the next 'Beverly Hills Cop'.  (This one even includes Glenn Frey's 'The Heat is On', clearly as an homage to the 1984 Eddie Murphy classic.)  But more often than not they turn out closer to 'Cop Out', the Bruce Willis/Tracy Morgan mess from 2010.  Let's face it, merging action and comedy is a tricky combination.  Trying to get the tone just right is a very gentle balancing act.  And unfortunately '30 Minutes or Less' doesn't quite do it.  But, it's not nearly as big a mess as 'Cop Out'.  In fact, it's still somewhat entertaining.

Jesse Eisenberg stars as a pizza delivery boy who unknowingly becomes the target of a 'master plan' by screw-up Danny McBride to force someone to rob a bank by strapping a bomb to his chest.  Eisenberg enlists his friend, played by Aziz Ansari, to help out, and of course he does because what the hell, it's only robbing a bank, right?  No biggie.  Riiiiight. 

Alrighty, so where do I begin?  Let's start with the good.  Jesse Eisenberg is top notch, as usual.  He's a quality actor, turning in a quality dramatic performance, in what could have been a quality drama.  Unfortunately, everyone around him is a complete buffoon, almost as if they were making a different movie than Eisenberg thought they were making.  Aziz Ansari is the same old Aziz Ansari we've seen in 'Scrubs' and 'Parks and Recreation'.  Frankly, I'm bored of his schtick.  And who decided Danny McBride ever belonged in films or television?  It's the same old schtick for him too, like we've seen in the lowness that was 'Your Highness'.  I didn't like it then and I don't like it now.

But I'm being a tad bit harsh.  This film is not without entertainment value.  Despite my issues with it, it's still adequately entertaining.  However, considering the poster clearly wants you to know it's from the director of 'Zombieland', I feel compelled to say that this ain't no 'Zombieland'.  In fact, something tells me one person who might be more disappointed than me after watching this may have been Jesse Eisenberg.  (But I'm sure you'll get 'em next time, Jesse.  'Rodger Dodger' rules!)

Grade: C+

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