Review: 30 Minutes or Less

In a bid to be more like “real” movie critics I am going to attempt a pithy little turn of phrase that includes the movie title, so bare with me as I try this out…

30 Minutes or Less is actually what the running time of this movie should have been. It took me about 30 Minutes or Less to realize that almost all the funny scenes were in the trailers. Within about 30 Minutes or Less, I realized I should have went and saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes instead.

As the trailers for 30 Minutes or Less started playing over the TV at my day job, I usually found myself defending it. I really wanted this movie to be good, after all it does star quite a few people I find incredibly funny. I loved Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland, I adore the stand up of Aziz Ansari and Nick Swardson, and Danny McBride as Kenny “F***ing” Powers might be one of the greatest comedic television characters of the past decade. This should have been a contender to take the crown from Bridesmaids as Funniest Movie of 2011. Unfortunately, the movie never congeals; leaving us with a soggy brown bag full of unfunny dick jokes and unlikable characters.

Perhaps the greatest offense of this movie is that there’s not really a single likable character in the bunch. The main character Nick is heavy on the loser and light on the lovable. Whether it’s the duo of Nick and Chet or Dwanye and Travis, these friends consistently mistreat each other and unfortunately it’s not really in the funny Three Stooges way, or even in that “I’m mean to my friend because we’re friends way.” It just comes across that all the characters are jerks.

The movie does itself a great disservice by missing the mark of lowbrow humor and just sliding into smut. Like I said previously, I love East Bound and Down, but that style of humor isn’t balanced at all in 30 Minutes or Less. The reason that Kenny Powers works is due to the fact he is surrounded by people that are disgusted by his behavior. As a result, the dark gallows humor that comes from having a bomb on your chest feels out of place when combined with the attempts of being crude. The film feels like it was written by two people: The first being a funny man that understood dark humor and the second being his older brother that typically writes a bunch of terrible dick and fart jokes. In the end it just seems like the older brother punched his younger brother in the arm and call him a “nerd” whenever he attempted to be clever at the writing table.

Now towards the end of the movie there were some laugh out loud moments, but it felt like it took about an hour to reach them. Honestly, just about everything related to the actual bank robbery was funny. The problem is that the robbery takes up so little of the movie. Between the forced romance, murder plots, and other unnecessary fluff, the funny stuff just ends up buried.

In the end, 30 Minutes or Less is a forgettable comedy that stars some actors that really would have shined if the project was just consistent and better managed. It gets off to a terrible start, but does tighten up by the last half-hour. Unfortunately for the viewer, the movie is an hour and a half long; meaning you have to sit through more or less an hour of movie that is mediocre at best.

[xrr rating=”1.5/5″]

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