Thursday, August 11, 2011

30 Minutes or Less

  • Film: 30 Minutes or Less [2011, usa]
  • Date: August 3
  • Where: Tulsa/theatre/press screening
  • Who with: Loner style
  • Rating: ***
  • Rating for how similar Danny McBride is in every single role he does: ****1/2
  • Rating for how similar Jesse Eisenberg is in every single role he does: ****1/2

Note the date--I saw this at a press screening last week, but didn't want to post anything about it too early as the studios don't really like that. Not that any studios are ever perusing this lil' ol' blog in Tulsa, but just want to be a gentleman since I got to see the film for free. Plus, I'm about to say some negative things about it, which they definitely don't want to read about nine days before it gets released to the masses.

I knew absolutely nothing about 30 Minutes or Less other than its three lead characters, but realized very quickly into it that it is based on a real life event that I read about in a New Yorker, Wired or some other magazine awhile back. The story was pretty wild and concerned a pizza delivery guy who delivers a pizza only to be taken hostage, tied up and forced to rob a bank against his will. Oh, did I mention the kidnappers attach a bomb to his chest and will trigger it if he goes to the cops, attempts to take it off or fails to get them their cash. 30 Minutes or Less is the comedic version of that dark slice of true Americana crime.

The early portions of the film are just too manic as most of the characters act as if they'd just ingested a couple of Red Bulls right before their scenes started. The frenetic energy begins to work as the film progresses and the clock ticks down closer to when the bomb is supposed to go off, but the uneven, erratic elements never truly go away. There'll be some humorous moments, then some flat-out duds and this repeats for the entire movie.

I hate to say it, but Danny McBride's schtick is starting to wear thin for me. With every role he takes it's obvious how limited he is crafting a character as he plays pretty much the same foul-mouthed a-hole he revels in. It can still elicit laughs, he just doesn't have the same humor batting average as he once did. The same thing can be said for Jesse Eisenberg. I was openly critical of his Oscar nomination for The Social Network as I didn't see him do anything in that film he hasn't already done. Yes, the movie was more serious, but how different was Eisenberg's performance? So many performers just play variations of the same note and both Eisenberg and McBride are two of them. I did love seeing the awesome Fred Ward chewing up some dialogue as an ex-Marine though. Dang, I love Fred Ward!

Wildly erratic, uneven and forced, 30 Minutes or Less provides boundless energy and some laughs, but when it ends it just feels underwhelming.


hidden staircase said...

how nice of you to bide your tongue until now! i took me way less than 30 seconds to know i will not be seeing this! co-worker patrick and i were just talking about 'short cuts' yesterday. fred ward!

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

One of Fred Ward's best roles is in SHORT CUTS. Although, the cast is so huge, hogs into his screen time too much. I love that movie...

hidden staircase said...'s a goodun...HUGE amazing cast...