Like any good pizza delivery driver with a bomb vest strapped to his body, 30 Minutes or Less knows how to get there, get the job done and get it over with with a second to spare.
When it comes to explosives, every second counts, and there aren’t many films with such a clear-eyed grasp of its premise’s lifespan. Like a good pizza, it goes down with a smile before you can taste too much of it, before the cheese has a chance to get moldy and old.
Coming off of The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg slides way down the food chain. He plays a pizza driver caught up in a murder plot hatched by the nincompoop son of a lottery winner (Danny McBride) who wants to live the American dream of opening a tanning store that doubles as a brothel. To pay for a professional hit, his accomplice locks a bomb vest on the pizza boy’s body to force him to rob a bank, which drags in a friendly teacher (Aziz Ansari, a veteran of the Apatow circuit).
Director Ruben Fleischer, the writer/director of Zombieland, takes inspiration from action-comedies of the eighties and does a generally fine job with it. He gets another nice collaboration out of Eisenberg, whom I’ve never thought of as a genuine-article movie star, but maybe the mechanics are there. I don’t get the cult of Danny McBride, though. He goes from movie to movie as a petulant dimwit with nothing else. He seems destined to ruin a Wes Anderson movie.
30 minutes or less might have the short lifespan of a meat-lovers supreme on a table in front of a hungry teenage baseball team. But it will taste about as good.