‘30 Minutes Or Less’ - Good, but could have been better

October 9th, 2011 - 5:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Nick Swardson Film: “30 Minutes Or Less”: Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Dilshad Vadsaria: Director: Ruben Fleischer: Rating: **1/2

Mixed genre films seem to be the flavour of the season. And though this latest addition to the comedy/action/thriller genre may not work singularly in either, it does manage to hold the viewer’s interest enough to enjoy it while it lasts.

A down-on-his-luck pizza delivery boy Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), has a greater blow dealt to him when two nerds strap a bomb to him and force him to rob a bank. Desperate, he takes help from his nerdy Indian friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) in a bid to rob the bank, and stay alive.

“30 Minutes Or Less” is not quite sure whether it wants to be a comedy, action or a thriller. It has decent dosages of each put in for good measure, but fails to make the cut for either.

Yet, some believable acting, good characterization and tight editing, helps the film pull itself through in the end. Though you might not remember it later, you’ll be thoroughly entertained while you are watching it.

The best thing is perhaps its own self-deprecating nature and its ability to take itself lightly. It’s nerdy, and yet intelligent enough to hold your attention while shifting focus from the comic to action to thrilling elements. In the end, it is a fairly satisfying ride.

Indian-origin stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari, with his nervous yet restrained energy, does the best job in the acting department. This is his big break in a major role and he delivers what’s expected of him. Jesse Eisenberg, who has by now been typecast as one of cinema’s favourite nerds, manages to get the story and the thrill move forward as the lead.

Director Ruben Fleischer, who’s given cult comic-horror film “Zombieland”, does well in handling key moments that could have gone over the top in the hands of less adept directors. Yet, his writers could have helped him with a better screenplay.

Thus, what could have been a hilarious caper turns out to be an average one. There was so much potential for comedy and situational humour in the film but it was simply not realised, thanks to some lacklusture writing and few bad to terrible gags.

–Indo-Asian New Service

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