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The Movie: 30 Minutes or Less (2011)

I’m an enormous fan of Danny McBride. With only a few exceptions like the odious Aloha and the crass Angry Birds Movie, I’ve tried to see everything he’s acted in. But, there was always this one movie that seemed to be utterly forgotten in his filmography: 30 Minutes or Less. The premise seemed fun: two bumbling criminals strap a bomb on some witless slacker’s chest and make him rob a bank. Easy laughs! The idea has a twisted edge to it that seemed primed for some good comedy. Then, the movie came out to zero fanfare and quickly faded into nothingness. Did it deserve that treatment?

I have to agree with the consensus on this one. Watching 30 Minutes or Less is the equivalent of staring at air. There are very, very brief moments of laughter to be had but they weren’t memorable enough for me to… well, remember them. There is also so much working against the movie on almost every front. All the lead actors feel like they belong in a different version of the movie; Jesse Eisenberg is doing his American Ultra schtick before that was even a thing, Aziz Ansari is playing everything like it’s a much sillier puff piece, Danny McBride is sorely missing the guidance of someone like Jody Hill or David Gordon Green to make the comedy have some meanness to it, and Nick Swardson is a bump on a log and that’s being kind. For Christ’s sake, Fred fuckin’ Ward is in this movie and even he can’t salvage things. He gets the best moment of the movie – a showdown with the equally out-of-place Michael Peña – but it’s like getting a single sprinkle on top of a doughnut made of shit.

fred ward 30 minutes or less

Fred realizing he really was in that second season of True Detective. That wasn’t an Ambien-induced nightmare.

The movie is also suspiciously short. Including credits and a little sketch at the end, it barely hits 83 minutes. If someone knows something about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of this movie, please start a dialogue in the comments. It almost feels like there is a nastier movie hiding in the edges of this, but the studio decided to chop it to bits for reasons unknown. There is certainly something to be had with the goofball premise but the movie does nothing with it. It’s amazing to see talented comedians – minus the garbage dump that is Nick Swardson – be part of something that is utterly weightless.

Is It Worth Mentioning?: Maybe for a Danny McBride completionist or someone who gets off seeing Fred Ward on screen (*suspicious whistle*). Otherwise, this one earns its obscurity.

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