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30 Minutes or Less


Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Michael Peña, Fred Ward

Director: Ruben Fleischer

For 50 dialogue-heavy minutes, this comedy film's a bore. When it concentrates on plot and action in the last half-hour, it picks up no end. Eisenberg plays a pizza delivery boy who somehow falls foul of two would-be entrepreneur criminals (McBride, Swardson) and gets a bomb strapped to his chest: ordered to rob a bank to set the bad guys up in 'business' and pay a hit-man's fee for offing McBride's ex-Marine dad (Ward), Eisenberg enlists his friend Chet (Ansari) as co-robber.

A gangster (Peña) also gets involved and the action unfolds into a five-way shootout in which the foul-mouthed comedy takes on a rather more serious tone.

Director Fleischer, who made the far superior Zombieland, here encourages the actors to gobble their dialogue like starving men presented with a slap-up meal. Chief survivor from this is Swardson as the trenchant McBride's bewildered accomplice; he conjures up some genuine laughs and creates the only believable character in the film.

Bit of a comedown, though, for Eisenberg, this, after the deserved Oscar nomination for The Social Network.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by deluxe.
83 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 10 Sep 2011