Jen Dracowyrm Says 30 MINUTES OR LESS Is A Trip Worth Taking!
I really enjoyed Ruben Fleischer's 30 MINUTES OR LESS, although I had some minor character issues with it. No matter how hard Jesse Eisenberg tries, he still comes off as way too smart to play a doofus like his character in this movie. But Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, and especially Aziz Ansari bring much of the funny to the film. I also liked how stripped down the movie was in comparison to ZOMBIELAND - this is a small story, with small people, and it's not out to change the world of comedy or anything - it's fairly intimate for a heist comedy. For some odd reason that I can't put my finger on, it reminded me of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT although it has nothing in common with that movie.
Jen Dracowyrn is a BNATer - one of the first, actually - and saw 30 MINUTES OR LESS at a screening last week, and here's what he had to say about it:
AROUND 90 MINUTES
I love to see a silly premise for a movie done by smart people. The Marx brothers and the Monty Python group were experts at it and I am always at least satisfied with a glimmer of it in any comedies that I see. Take something so ridiculous and out of the ordinary and build a story around it, but the catch is, you gotta sell it to the whole audience.
What would you do, if you found yourself in a situation where you were kidnapped in the line of duty of a job you hate, had a bomb vest strapped to your torso and told to do something that could get you killed in the process anyway and the clock was ticking? What if you were the person who perpetrated the crime? If you used freedom as the motivation to get the job done, would you be true to your word when and if it was completed?
In 30 Minutes or Less, this crime is inflicted upon Nick the pizza delivery guy (Jesse Eisenberg) by Dwayne (Danny McBride) and his cohort Travis (Nick Swardson) in a plan to get a lot of money for a plan that will net the fledgling criminals a lot more money. Having seen a few films, it seems that it is always easier to interject comedy into an action film than it is to seamlessly add action to a comedy. A buddy cop movie where the two drop one liners after a major scene carries over better than a comedy based on two cops. Say, Lethal Weapon vs. Cop Out.
SPOILER ALERT: The opening scene of Eisenberg’s character driving like a cut scene of To Live and Die in L.A. in a ragged out 5.0, rockin’ out, while coolly enjoying a joint and trying to locate his drop off for the pizza is just one example of how the action actually works in this movie. Revealing the bomb to his best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari) in a school crowded with children, or robbing a bank and someone gets shot or even the vest exploding (yes, it does) could all be enough to derail the mood of the movie, but it remains a comedy throughout. The last movie that I had seen that could keep its comedic integrity while still having kick ass action was probably Hot Fuzz. Even Pineapple Express couldn’t keep its flow when the heavier scenes came in.
Though they may be fresh talent by movie industry standards, all of the main actors are veterans and it shows. Jesse Eisenberg sells it when it comes to the situation he’s been put in and Aziz Ansari convinces that he doesn’t want to be involved in any of it, but knows that it is the only real choice left to him. Side note: Ansari is a personal hero of mine for his 2010 MTV awards Avatar song where he expresses his appreciation for BP’s part for destroying the earth. Danny McBride should just be called Danny McBride in any future roles because that’s all he plays, but no one does it better and Nick Swardson’s sidekick character, Travis, is more fully fleshed out than would be normal for this type of role. Kudos to Fred Ward who plays The Major, Dwayne’s ex-marine, hard assed father and to Michael Pena who plays a hired hitman by the name of Chango. Both of these actors have done comedy in the past, but are more known for their dramatic roles. Dilshad Vadsaria plays Katie which is Nick’s love interest and Chet’s twin sister, which plays well into the script. I was almost surprised not to see Seth Rogen, Ken Jeong or Jonah Hill.
If there are any complaints with 30 Minutes or Less, the minor one would be that the title, though important to the set up of the film, is really an anachronism. Nick never gets the pizza delivered on time, even when the drop off point is within walking distance of Vitto’s pizzeria. The only money to be made on that time limit would be if ordered by stoners that would forget to look at the clock for the 30 minute mark unless they ordered the pizza at 3:50. The other complaint is a little heavier, but was one that temporarily took away from my enjoyment of the movie.
At one Butt-Numb-A-Thon, Harry had shown Wonder Bar, an old B&W film starring Al Jolson. The audience laughed out of embarrassment at how African Americans were portrayed in the film. A black man dies and goes to a heaven that he can bring along his faithful dog, pick pork chops from a tree and other such madness that was acceptable entertainment to some people of that time. Even Busby Berkeley’s music numbers couldn’t drag this film out of the muck for me.
I was glad to see that director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and writer Michael Diliberti could put together a comedy that didn’t have to resort to the most base of humor, but that being said, I’m tired of seeing any race being stereotyped for a punchline. Having a person of that race or ethnicity spout the racist lines doesn’t make it ok. Comparing a laser pointed at someone’s forehead to a Bindi or calling a Latino a beaner is not observational humor and is not necessary when non-whites are acting in a film.
With that out of the way, I really liked this film and hope Ben Stiller (one of the producers) gets even richer off of it. The soundtrack had some older stuff in it, including some Beastie Boys and Dwayne’s Raining Blood by Slayer on his cell ringtone matched up to the character’s profiles. The posters for the film state that it is not yet rated, but an “R” is the only way to go for this film, just watch the green and red card trailers for it. They are almost identical, but the adult language and drug references really pack the comedic punch. I look forward to The Gangster Squad and any other films Ruben Fleischer wants to throw our direction.
Thanks and keep talking about movies. Peace.
Thanks, Jen. 30 MINUTES OR LESS opens everywhere tomorrow.
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Aug. 11, 2011, 4:36 p.m. CST
If you don't know what a word means, why would you try to use it?
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:46 p.m. CST
Danny McBride bugs me and I don't think Aziz Ansari is funny so this is a maybe for me.
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:47 p.m. CST
by Sauce Diesel
...can act like Danny McBride in every movie as far as I'm concerned. He is funny as fuck!
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:54 p.m. CST
streets and intersections I recognize...wheeeee! No seriously, I will.
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:56 p.m. CST
"I love to see a silly premise for a movie done by smart people." A silly premise that actually happened. Shit's practically a documentary.
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:56 p.m. CST
I really want to see McBride in a movie where he is as funny as he is as Kenny Powers or his character in Pineapple Express. This looks to be just that film.
Aug. 11, 2011, 4:56 p.m. CST
Agreed. Sandler does it and he isn't even funny.
Aug. 11, 2011, 5:09 p.m. CST
I've been hearing from critics like EBERT that this movie is kind of a let down because Jesse is such a good fucking actor that it is beneath him to play stupid. I'll still check it out though cause Jesse has been on a roll as of late and everything he does is GOLD. + Ebert has been losing his mind rapidly over the years, I mean I can't trust anyone that didn't like fight club!
Aug. 11, 2011, 5:16 p.m. CST
which is used improperly, is, as a whole, the most confusing thing I have ever tried to read on this site. Did he just nod off there? Anachronism - an element in a story that is out of its time and/or place.
Aug. 11, 2011, 5:47 p.m. CST
by Jesse Kroh
man blows up while cameras and rescue workers watch...Hey let's make a movie about it...hey, let's make it funny and stick Danny McBride in it. I'm one to normally approve of bad taste, but this is a bit too far.
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:11 p.m. CST
BECAUSE IT SURE LOOKS LIKE A PLANT TO ME.
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:17 p.m. CST
I read the paragraph three times and I still don't understand it! <p> opendoorshal - they filmed the whole bank scene up in Ludington, I know a few people in it. Only reason why I want to check it out.
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:26 p.m. CST
And one that did not end well for the guy with the bomb strapped to his chest. If you feel it necessary to watch a man's upper torso blow up, you can google for collar bomb explodes Not very graphic, but it is of course a real person being killed. Yikes. You can read the Wired article about this crazy tale by googling for wired collar bomb
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:44 p.m. CST
Creaters swear they didn't know anything of the true life version after relatives of the "victum" spoke against the movie.
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:50 p.m. CST
by Andrew Coleman
My friend watches NCIS and they had an episode years ago now with a bomb vest. They also did it seriously in The Hurt Locker. I get that some crazy fuck put it on someone and killed them. But saying this movie is out of line for doing it is rough to me. I'd get it if it was an actual movie based on the event but this plot is very different but involves that element.
Aug. 11, 2011, 7:29 p.m. CST
Saw a screening last night hosted by one of the local radio stations, and I really didn't like it all that much. Aziz was the only funny thing in the movie for me. Danny can't play anything but his same old character which drives me batshit crazy. Jesse plays a different character than he does in Zombieland and The Social Network, so I'll give him a high five for that, but his character seemed a bit too try-hard. Overall, wait till it's available on netflix.
Aug. 11, 2011, 7:42 p.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2011, 7:49 p.m. CST
At least four talkbackers right here mentioned it, out of maybe ten comments. You really believe that none of the people who wrote the script, read the script, acted in the movie, worked on the movie for almost a year (preproduction, etc.) NEVER mentioned to the filmmakers that it actually happened? They're lying their asses off.
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:20 p.m. CST
What if it was a Chinese food delivery man instead? Would the hypersenstive "too soon" crowd still be crying?
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:26 p.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:34 p.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
Hell, most ANIMATED MOVIES clock in over eighty-five minutes these days.
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:44 p.m. CST
This shit really happened to some poor guy and he died. FUCK this movie.
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:47 p.m. CST
by Jesse Kroh
then I would be for that.
Aug. 11, 2011, 9:48 p.m. CST
by Drunken Busboy
Aug. 12, 2011, 12:21 a.m. CST
Aug. 12, 2011, 12:38 a.m. CST
Aug. 12, 2011, 2:03 a.m. CST
was laughing my ass off the whole time. Great movie to watch, way better than the Hangover crap that took everyone's money. But i did find it weird that they chose this story line, since it actually happened and the guy died (Though i later read that he was actually involved with the heist from the start). I don't know how it went from that to a comedy, but that aside, its really funny.
Aug. 12, 2011, 4:58 a.m. CST
by Ian Simmons
This is an awesome movie! I reviewed it after attending Capone's advanced screening in early July. http://bit.ly/ogaoDz
Aug. 12, 2011, 7:56 a.m. CST
A dude died on dashboard cam. http://abcnews.go.com/Archives/video/pizza-deliveryman-collar-bomb-robbery-10487219 Take home line "why is nobody taking this thing off me?"
Aug. 12, 2011, 8:21 a.m. CST
So any film that uses a real life tragedy and puts a spin on it should be boycotted? Fuck you. I guess every single episode of Hogans Heroes should be wiped from history right? Because there were HORRIBLE things done to POWs in WWII and yet, there they go making light of the prisoner situation. Fuck them and their blood money! Yes it was tragic that a man died from the scenario presented in this film, but it's a fucking comedy, not a documentary twisted to illicit laughs, and you all need to get off your bleeding heart high horses and fuck off.
Aug. 12, 2011, 8:48 a.m. CST
story of the little-known FIFTH (!) hijacked plane, scheduled to fly into the White House on 9/11. Hilarity ensues when the bumbling hijackers accidently arm themselves with water guns and toilet paper tubes painted red. I really don't care, I just wanted to jump on the bandwagon.
Aug. 12, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST
how have I not seen that movie?
Aug. 12, 2011, 10:27 a.m. CST
Thing I thought when I saw the trailer was the real story that happened. I remember seeing the video years ago. Pretty horrible. Of curse I don't give a fuck if it IS based on a true story if it is funny. So, there's that.
Aug. 12, 2011, 6:12 p.m. CST
... has to be ugly. But I'd want her to be hot. Wait, Jen Dracowyrm is a guy? Well, that would have been my second guess.
Aug. 12, 2011, 9:43 p.m. CST
Aug. 12, 2011, 10:08 p.m. CST
You're right! I am OFFENDED! I hate the "STUPID WHITE GUY DOES IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE RACIAL STEREOTYPE LEFT!"
Watch commercials if you don't believe me. Anyway, I'm just kidding. People need to lighten up....That means you, Jen. Sheesh...
Aug. 13, 2011, 1:07 a.m. CST
He basically got used and double-crossed, but he was in on the planning and the crime, so I have no problem with people making fun of the situation.
Aug. 13, 2011, 1:09 a.m. CST
Danny McBride tries too hard, and Aziz Ansari is possibly the LEAST funny person ever in film. I loved Zombieland, but Fleischer went from hot new director-to-watch to 50% success. Hope he rebounds with something better than this.
Aug. 13, 2011, 1:10 a.m. CST
Aug. 13, 2011, 4:52 p.m. CST
Aug. 14, 2011, 1:28 a.m. CST
Nothing worse than a comedic actor or comedienne who thinks they are funny. Ansari is not funny at all, and comes off like he thinks he is just a comedic genius. The radio promos make me change the station - I just hate hearing his voice and how he tries to be clever (and is it street he is trying to convey with his FOOL schtick?) I can only imagine how much worse he will look next to Eisenberg (damn talented), McBride (not my favorite, but he's got something and he's growing on me), and Nick Swardson (damn funny, and I hope this gets him lots of work).
Aug. 15, 2011, 7:46 a.m. CST
As assholes as often as they're shown as heroes. The only thing that's changed is their ability to depict minorities as total scum or laughing-stocks without ever showing them as romantic heroes without people complaining. It's fun to watch white people squeal about the loss of that privilege.