Release Date
August 12, 2011
Ruben Fleischer
Michael Diliberti
Matthew Sullivan
Distributed By
Columbia Pictures
$28 million
Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity and some violence
83 minutes

30 Minutes Or Less

Explain to me, with a cast of established comedians and well-known actors, how the newest comer is the highlight of the film. 30 Minutes Or Less is a launching pad for Aziz Ansari. If you have caught the television series Parks & Recreation, you already know of his very unique delivery. However, something is to be said about a comedian that outshines a 2010 Academy Award nominee.

Before The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg was known for his awkward brand of humor, as well, creating enjoyable performances in both Adventureland and Zombieland in 2009. Then 2010 rolled around and Eisenberg picked up a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars for his performance in the overly hyped film The Social Network. From now on, it seems, not only will it be hard to buy Eisenberg in any of these teenage comedies, but equally as hard not to feel as though he has become slightly smug. Thus is the case with his performance in 30 Minutes Or Less.

Eisenberg plays the lead role of Jake, a pot smoking, pizza delivery driver in Grand Rapids, Mi. His demeanor (or perhaps just my interpretation) is half-hearted and uninspired (as is most of the plot). When Dwayne (Danny McBride) and his best friend Travis (Nick Swardson) decide to quit living under Dwayne’s rich father (Fred Ward), they enlist the help of a stripper named Juicy (Bianca Kajlich) and her assassin boyfriend, Chongo (Michael Pena) to take his father out of the equation. However before Chongo will take care of Dwayne’s father, he needs $10,000. How better to get the money than to strap a bomb to a pizza delivery driver and force him to rob a bank for them? Despite everyone in the film being slow-witted, the idea is actually dumb enough to work.

Aside from some wonderful arguments between Eisenberg and Ansari, the film is rather bland, with a formulaic plot that hardly pays off. There is a haphazard romance poured in between Jake and Chet’s (Ansari) twin sister, Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria) to which Chet disapproves, causing the conflict that actually makes the film more fun. The film does open nicely, consisting of Jake driving around recklessly in his pizza delivery car, but without any sort of spectacle piecing the film together, a lack of urgency, and contrived action sequences, the film simply falls flat. Though it is always nice to see Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, Aziz Ansari steals the show and proves that he has become the next big name in comedy.



  1. I liked the two rednecks but didn’t think the script was anything near as good for Eisenberg to properly shine. As you say, the n00b is probably the best ‘comedian’ here. Bit of a sloppy, messy, bat-shit-crazy ending!

    1. You’re absolutely right. Look at the Zombieland script and how well that worked for Eisenberg. It almost seemed written for him while 30 Minutes or Less just seemed to shove him into a role that he wasn’t necessarily right for. The bickering scenes between Eisenberg and Ansari could have been perfect given the right person in the role or the right attention shown to Eisenberg’s character. Also, I had a huge problem with how easy it was to rob a bank. No failed attempts, no build-up, just in and out with no problems. Completely frustrating.

    1. Not a classic at all, when it easily could have been given the right amount of comedy from these guys. It’s more of a one and done type of film that I really have no need to see again, which is awful, especially for a comedy.

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