Monday September 12th 2011
If we learnt just one thing from Zombieland it’s that putting a 5-minute Bill Murray cameo in your film can fool an audience into thinking the other 83 minutes were worth their time as well. When in actual fact they were 83 of the most cringe-inducing, try-hard, laugh-free minutes IN THE HISTORY OF FUCKING CINEMA. Well, that might be overdoing it. But it wasn’t very good, m’kay?
Director Ruben Fleischer’s follow-up comedy 30 Minutes or Less does not contain a Bill Murray cameo and does contain Danny McBride, so right from the off I suspected I might hate it with the passion of a thousand burning suns.
[Seriously, where the hell would Danny McBride be without the words ‘pussy’, ‘dick’ and ‘motherfucker’? They’re his entire comedy repertoire.]
But against all odds, 30 Minutes or Less is actually something of a success. Jesse Eisenberg seems a lot more comfortable ‘doing Jesse Eisenberg’ now that he’s had a chance to flex his Fincher muscles, and his chemistry with Aziz Ansari looks almost effortless. Astoundingly, even Danny McBride seems lifted by the strength of the ensemble cast: he’s paired up with Nick Swardson (that guy who claims not to be Jason Sudeikis but blatantly is) and together they’re entirely passable as the heartless bad guys who strap a bomb to Eisenberg and force him to rob a bank. Did I mention that’s the plot? It is.
The inclusion of a love interest in the form of Ansari’s character’s twin sister is perhaps the film’s biggest misstep. She pops up every half hour or so, presumably to illustrate just how not-gay Eisenberg is, and feels about as integral to the story as a late-period Friends Phoebe subplot.
Otherwise, 30 Minutes or Less is a consistently funny, well acted and fantastically short — basically 80mins — little comedy that’s more than deserving of your time.
And best of all, it’s fucking wall-to-wall hip hop. I mean, why on Earth do filmmakers put anything else on their soundtracks? You could have an original score collaboratively written by every Oscar-winning composer in the entire history of cinema and I guarantee you not a second of it would sound as good over your end credits as this:
Prove me wrong, Hollywood. Prove me wrong.