Zombieland was an entertaining enough romp, which suffered from a flabby middle (Bill Murray, really?) and well, in all honesty, a general lack of zombies. EBFS is a bit old fashioned when it comes wanting zombies in zombie films and we make no apologies for it. However, it did show that Ruben Fleischer was capable of more than just directing MIA in her latest ‘keeping it down with the kids, I haven’t sold out’ music vid. There’s also no denying it was a big hit, so it should be no surprise that Fleischer and Zombieland lead, Jesse Eisenberg, have got back together for 30 Minutes or Less.
Eisenberg is a no-hoper pizza delivery boy who spends his time sponging off his teacher flatmate (Aziz Asnari), wining and dining his flatmate’s sister and generally being an arse. During one of his deliveries, he is drugged and kidnapped by spoilt rich kid, Danny McBride. McBride has a plan. He needs $100,000 so he can hire a hitman to kill his father, allowing him to inherit his pater’s $10 million fortune. To achieve this, McBride straps a bomb to Eisenburg’s chest and gives him 10 hours to rob a bank for the aforementioned murderous fee. Is this all sounding a bit heavy going? It does to me when you say it out loud. But I swear, it’s a comedy.
Blending comedy and action, despite what Tango and Cash may lead you to believe, is not always successful. Pineapple Express and Hot Fuzz are examples of mixing guffaws with car chases that have polarised opinions. So, at least 30 Minutes isn’t going to be lonely. There are certainly laughs to be found, but like a lot of Apatow-esque movies of late, there is something to be said for the Director actually guiding his cast and not letting them run riot with their own amendments and ad-libs. If you do watch 30 Minutes, why not play a fun game of guessing what the original line was before McBride replaced it with a series of interconnecting fucks, shits and pussies.
Eisenberg is another problem. There is no difference between his portrayal of slacker pizza boy, his Mark Zuckerberg impression and his attempt at a zombie killer. The same speedy delivery, the same twitches… Like McBride’s equation of swearing=funny, he’s beginning to grate a bit. However, his delivery of the line ‘Your twins! Did you feel me when I fucked her?’ did raise a few giggles.
30 Minutes feels a tad disjointed, as if we’re missing a reel. Scenes and dialogue happen for no apparent reason and do nothing to move the plot along. And in some cases, the tone is completely uneven. A father vs would-be assassin scene ends on such a bummer, an attempt to make it all okay in a post-credit sting just simply doesn’t work. An attempt to crowbar in a bit of romance leaves the film with unsightly stretchmarks.
Like the aforementioned Zombieland, 30 Minutes‘s heart is in the right place, but it just doesn’t justify the sum of its parts. A lackluster finale compounds the fact that there could have a been a really good buddy movie in here, but unfortunately it’ll just be ‘that film Eisenberg did after the Facebook, the naff one’. Let us be thankful it finishes in 90 minutes or less.