30 Minutes or Less In the impressively loopy, dirt-black heist comedy 30 Minutes or Less , a shambling Michigan pizza delivery guy named Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) winds up locked… 30 Minutes or Less In the impressively loopy, dirt-black heist comedy 30 Minutes or Less , a shambling Michigan pizza delivery guy named Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) winds up locked… 2011-08-12 R PT83M Action/Adventure Comedy Jesse Eisenberg Danny McBride Nick Swardson Columbia Pictures
Movie Review

30 Minutes or Less (2011)

MPAA Rating: R

Photos

Summer guilty pleasures for guys
by Darren Franich

Goofy reality TV, popcorn action flicks, a bubblegum song -- one of the boys 'fesses up to season's joys

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Aug 12, 2011; Rated: R; Length: 83 Minutes; Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy; With: Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride; Distributor: Columbia Pictures

In the impressively loopy, dirt-black heist comedy 30 Minutes or Less, a shambling Michigan pizza delivery guy named Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) winds up locked in a bomb-rigged vest wired to go off unless he robs a bank. Why? Because a scheming dum-dum named Dwayne (Danny McBride) needs $100,000 to pay a hitman (Michael Peña) to ice the dum-dum's sadistic ex-Marine father (Fred Ward) so the good-for-nothing Dwayne can inherit Dad's dough, and Nick's the unlucky SOB Dwayne kidnaps and forces to do his criminal bidding. Why? Well, because this stuff happens sometimes, as it did to a real Pennsylvania pizza guy under similar circumstances back in 2003. (The outcome wasn't pretty.)

Now on to a harder question: How does such a warped premise — with real, no-joke life-and-death consequences built into the suspense — become a movie that's weirdly funny and fast-paced, not to mention determinedly mean, filthy, and jackass irresponsible? To which my answer is, I don't know; 30 Minutes shouldn't work. But it does. A stoner movie without the spliff smoke, it's proudly, sexually lewd with no cushion of boyish sweetness. (Ah, the invaluable Danny McBride touch!) There's plenty of male-on-male insults, amiably amped up because Dwayne's doofus ''bomb expert'' sidekick is played by crazy-comic Nick Swardson, and Nick's ex–best friend (who nevertheless helps out under the circumstances) is played by Parks and Recreation's notable Aziz Ansari. The script, a hot commodity by Michael Diliberti from a story by Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan, barrels along on sharp-tongued gusts of outrage — and one great joke at the expense of The Hurt Locker. And the ensemble cast, led by a whirlybirding Eisenberg (whose character actually says, ''I don't check Facebook,'' hah!), charges ahead, steered by director Ruben Fleischer with some of the same daredevil balancing acts he (and Eisenberg) displayed in Zombieland. There's nothing nice about 30 Minutes or Less. It's got no redeeming social value. It just ticks away, exploding all notions of where you think it's going to go. It blew me sideways. B+

Originally posted Aug 10, 2011 Published in issue #1168-1169 Aug 19, 2011 Order article reprints

More Summer Movies

Photo Gallery Movie scenes that make YOU cry

''Ghost'' to ''Steel Magnolias'' to ''Dumbo'' -- moments you say get you reaching for a hankie every time

Summer movies: Leading ladies!
by EW Staff

Women who'll bring the heat to the multiplex this season, from new faces to longtime fan faves

Photo Gallery: Summer Movie Guide 50 most vile movie villains
by EW Staff | May 17, 2013

Jury's out on Benedict Cumberbatch's hush-hush ''Star Trek'' character; where would YOU put him on our ultimate list of cinematic baddies?

Photo Gallery 49 unforgettable nude scenes
by EW Staff | Nov 01, 2010

Stacy Martin and Shia LaBeouf in ''Nymphomaniac''; see others who've disrobed for a role

Advertisement
Weekend of Nov 23 Box Office Source: Rentrak Corp.
Rank Title Weekend Gross* Weeks on Chart Cume. Gross* EW Grade
1. $123.0 1 $123.0 B-
2.
Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Pictures
$20.1 3 $135.7 B+
3.
Interstellar
Paramount
$15.1 3 $120.7 B-
4.
Dumb and Dumber To
Universal
$13.8 2 $57.5 C-
5.
Gone Girl
Fox
$2.8 8 $156.8 A
6.
Beyond the Lights
Relativity
$2.6 2 $10.1 B+
7.
St. Vincent
Weinstein Co.
$2.4 7 $36.6 B
8.
Fury
Sony
$1.9 6 $79.1 C+
9.
Birdman
Fox Searchlight
$1.9 6 $14.4 A-
10.
Nightcrawler
Open Road
$1.2 4 $27.2 B+
* in millions

From Our Partners