[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B005FL8HW2][/pullquote] Zombieland was released in 2009 to rave reviews and a good showing at the box office. Much like Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost had done with Shaun of the Dead, Ruben Fleischer took a genre that was stale and breathed new life into it. Following on from this success, they have created their follow-up, 30 Minutes or Less. Sticking with their lead actor, Jesse Eisenberg, but shifting focus from post-zombie apocalypse to a comedic take on a heist/police thriller, this is very much their answer to the homage material from Hot Fuzz.
Nick (Eisenberg) is a pizza delivery boy who works for a pizza parlour that promises their pizzas in 30 minutes or less or it’s free. On a routine late night delivery he is jumped by two men, Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) and has a bomb strapped to him. Upon discovering this, Dwayne and Travis explain that he has 12 hours to rob a bank and get them $250,000, which they plan to use to hire a hit man to kill Dwayne’s dad and use the inheritance from that to start their own tanning salon/brothel. Nick enlists the help of his best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) to do the bank heist, aware that the clock is ticking closer to his death.
First 30 Minutes or Less’ positives; Ansari gives the funniest performance of the film and provides some good laughs, usually at the expense of the ˜straight man’ Eisenberg. Speaking of which, Eisenberg is fine, although for someone with such a glittering back catalogue so far, this may be a disappointment to some. Other than the two leads however, the remaining cast is disappointing and continue to drag the fun levels below what the audience may have come to expect from a sequel to one of the most fun films of 2009. A large part of the problem with the film rests on the shoulders of one man.
30 Minutes or Less’ casting of Danny McBride is just an awful decision from the film-makers who brought us Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee and should really know better. The rude and crude star of Your Highness whose popularity is as baffling as Kevin James’ is a constant disappointment and just as the film gathers momentum, he is there to stop it dead. It’s a shame because after some promising chemistry between Eisenberg and Ansari, McBride’s contributions continue to suck the life and humour out of the film throughout.
So despite an interesting hostage/heist premise and a couple of nice turns from the leads there is just simply not enough laughs. 30 Minutes or Less’ plot is fine and doesn’t drag its feet for too long, but the overall influence of McBride poisons the rest of the script beyond saving.