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30 Minutes Or Less—movie review

by Leonard Maltin
August 12, 2011 4:15 AM
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What can I say about a movie that made me want to take a shower and cleanse myself afterward? 30 Minutes or Less is so shallow, self-satisfied, and downright repulsive that I hesitate to discuss it at all. It has none of the qualities of director Ruben Fleischer’s debut feature, Zombieland, and it’s a long way from Jesse Eisenberg’s Oscar-nominated The Social Network. In fact, I’d call this movie antisocial.

The premise involves a lowlife, played all too well by Danny McBride, and his naïve friend, Nick Swardson, who concoct a scheme to kill off McBride’s wealthy father (Fred Ward). Hiring a hit man requires money, so they need to find a patsy and force him to rob a bank by strapping a time-bomb to his body. The unfortunate victim is a pizza delivery boy played by Eisenberg, who’s too smart to be completely convincing as—

—such a loser. Eisenberg turns to his only friend, Aziz Ansari, for help, figuring he can’t rob a bank by himself, and the two amateurs give it their best shot. Others who become involved in this escalating farce include a hit man and a stripper.

I understand that the film’s hedonistic attitude is supposed to give it permission to be offensive, since none of this is meant to be taken seriously. But the frequent ethnic and racial slurs, along with McBride’s crude sexual references, grow tiresome pretty fast. What’s worse, they aren’t funny. (When McBride and Swardson kidnap Eisenberg’s girlfriend, who’s Indian, they find her—where else?—in a toilet stall and call out, “Hey, Slumdog…”)

This marks a less-than-auspicious screenwriting debut for Michael Diliberti, based on a story he conceived with Matthew Sullivan. I hope they go on to bigger and better things, possibly in some other field.

And yes, I realize that some viewers will find it funny. I just don’t want to have dinner with those people…or have them judge a screenplay competition. If you find yourself stuck in a summer shower and the only movie playing at the local theater is 30 Minutes or Less, my advice is: stay outside and get wet.

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  • Simon | September 20, 2011 1:42 AMReply

    This film was a disgrace. Danny McBride is a nightmare to watch. He's only in these comedies as he's a friend of Ben Stiller (producer I believe). The plot is unfathomable and I couldn't suspend my disbelief for a second as the actions by the characters of this piece of shit are so illogical and unsubstantiated. The dialogue between Danny "can't act" McBride and his dumbass sidekick (a slightly better performance from a who the hell are you anyway actor) consists of "F*ck duuuude, f*ck, f*ck, dude, f*ck, f*ck". What is this, the 90's?! Even teens who were at this flick were rolling their eyes and groaning at the pathetic "jokes" that centered around cheap and brainless racist gags and "tee he" sex references. How this abomination was made by the Guy behind the fantastic Zombieland is beyond me. This is a skeleton they'll have to keep in their closet for years to come, a b@stard that should have been aborted in the script writing phase

  • JACK | August 31, 2011 5:42 AMReply

    I LIKE the racial jokes...those are the spice of life...and Im from India, myself...i can take a joke

  • Rey | August 28, 2011 11:16 AMReply

    This movie was the opposite of this review. Maltin calling this "so shallow, self-satisfied, and downright repulsive" shows he clearly did not understand what the movie! Does the words "satire" and "parody" mean anything?

    The film takes to task the society's "dreamer mentality" where most people want to sit around and wait for something to happen to make their lives better. Telling people their "plans" while they are really waiting for a "get rich quick scheme" or some sort of handout.

    The characters were just "waiting to get lucky" while ignoring their own abilities and skills. That's why Eisenberg’s character appeared to be "too smart" for this character because he WAS SUPPOSED to be!!

    Really Leonard? You do not know people who are smarter than their position in life? People who have let their dreams over take their reality?

    Maybe you should just listen to the Kenny Rogers song "Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer" to understand this movie, or is that song too complex?

  • jon | August 24, 2011 3:35 AMReply

    what a backwards review of a movie that has the nerve to be different. It is quite a bit like zombieland. Any idiot can see that. Yet maltin in his snarky review makes a point to say they are that much disimilar. If you want to keep seeing the same movie over and over then just do it. Dont bother everyone with your silly viewpoints that we are forced to see on rt. I bet you just loved benjamin button didnt you?

  • CMYK | August 20, 2011 10:51 AMReply

    Please. I'm 22 and I found this movie to be awful. I'm not offended by its language, sex or racism*. I'm offended that I was expected to sit through 83 minutes of the most boring plot imaginable. How is it that a movie about a bank heist and a bomb strapped to a man is insufferably long and dull? I watched it in a theater full of people and didn't hear anyone laugh once. After it was over, a group of teenagers behind me agreed it was the worst movie they'd ever paid to see, so obviously, it isn't just the older crowd that finds it to be a waste of time.

    *The racism was weird, though. Not offensive, since it was the "bad" characters who displayed most of it. Just weird and distracting.

  • mike schlesinger | August 16, 2011 8:35 AMReply

    THE GUARD is just as profane and anti-social as 30 MINUTES, but there's a big difference: it's smart and it's funny. 30 MINUTES is neither. And I will go to my grave wondering what people see in Danny McBride, who is as unfunny and unappealing an "actor" as anyone out there nowadays (which is saying something).

    The only bad thing about getting old is being lectured to by punk-ass kids who think they know everything (hint: you don't).

  • Laurence | August 15, 2011 8:08 AMReply

    Notes for Jwilson07:

    "A shame when men get old and crotchety. 'It was better when I was younger etc etc etc.' "

    The first two "etc"s should be followed by periods and commas.

    "They take out their prostrate problems on innocent people, then cannot handle a single joke because they cannot handle themselves becoming older and more irrelevant to the world they live in. "

    It should be "prostate," not "prostrate."

    "Time to go Home Lenny, have a nice cup of Ovaltine and reminisce about the good old days when you did not project your own pain onto the movies your paid to watch."

    "Home" should not be capitalized. There should be commas after "home" and after "Ovaltine." The second "your" in the last sentence should be spelled "you're."

    It's not surprising that you liked the movie.

  • Christopher | August 14, 2011 5:55 AMReply

    I find it sad that people feel the need to denigrate somebody because they don't agree with you. Leonard Maltin doesn't like this movie so that means he's fair game for ridicule apparently. That is sad. I don't agree with his assessment (which is rare because out of all the critics out there, I agree with him most often), but the fact that I disagree doesn't make him wrong, or old, or out of touch with how kids these days talk. And how does Mr. Maltin being "irrelevant" explain his appreciation of hits like The Hangover? If you disagree with his review, why not post your thoughts on the merits of 30 Minutes or Less instead of just insulting him.

  • Mark | August 13, 2011 9:49 AMReply

    "And yes, I realize that some viewers will find it funny. I just don’t want to have dinner with those people…or have them judge a screenplay competition."

    I understand where you are coming from Jim, but Maltin asks for it by making presumptuous and pretentious comments like this at the end of his reviews. He shouldn't throw tomatoes and not expect someone to throw a handful back. To question someone's integrity simply because they may find this movie funny is just as egregious and maybe worse.

  • jwilson07 | August 13, 2011 6:13 AMReply

    A shame when men get old and crotchety. "It was better when I was younger etc etc etc." They take out their prostrate problems on innocent people, then cannot handle a single joke because they cannot handle themselves becoming older and more irrelevant to the world they live in. Time to go Home Lenny, have a nice cup of Ovaltine and reminisce about the good old days when you did not project your own pain onto the movies your paid to watch.

  • Blackfoot | August 13, 2011 4:40 AMReply

    This review was crap. An absolutely unhelpful review. You didn't say anything that couldn't be gathered from the trailer other than how much you disliked it. A movie review shouldn't be just you trying to show off how clever you think you are with your lame quips. Another problem I have with this review is how you make it seem like this movie has the same appeal as movies such as: "Epic Movie", "Date Movie", or "Disaster Movie"; it's not that kind of comedy.

  • Jim | August 13, 2011 3:19 AMReply

    I have a message for the writers of the previous comments - It's not the job of a movie critic to verify your experience. It's his job to tell us what he thinks. If you disagree then you should certainly write and present your own views on the film. However anyone who makes personal attacks against someone simply for having a different opinion of a movie has no credibility or class. Considering your disdain for Mr. Maltin and, apparently, for anyone over the age of 12 I can't help but wonder why you are reading his blog in the first place.

  • Rex | August 13, 2011 2:06 AMReply

    Hey, old man river. Wake up!! It is the year 2011. Teens and young adults talk like this now a days. I know back in your day you had to walk to school. I am sure you thought the movie was funny as crap, but your old. You have to use your age to rate the movie. It is pretty sad. I am sure if you took a crowd of 60 year olds to see it at least half would think it was funny.

  • John Aldrich | August 13, 2011 1:00 AMReply

    "stay outside and get wet." Classic!

    I am SO borrowing this line.

  • June Saxton | August 12, 2011 11:35 AMReply

    I so agree with you. I wanted to go home & take a shower because this movie was do raunchy. 3 older people even walked out of the theater. I wish I had!

  • Brian | August 12, 2011 11:33 AMReply

    The Social Network was Oscar Winning it won 3 Oscars.

  • John | August 12, 2011 10:14 AMReply

    Get over yourself Leonard.

  • Kyle | August 12, 2011 8:42 AMReply

    The film was hilarious. And I am not sure what this critic means by saying Jesse was a "loser" in this movie. I thought he was funny and the character was very likeable...not a loser. This critic is a joke. And the fact that this is loosely based on a real event does not take away from the humor at all. That moron was involved in the plot to rob the bank and voluntarily strapped a bomb on his chest. I like to refer to them as terrorist. Much respect to the makers of this films. Loved it!

  • Jason | August 12, 2011 5:42 AMReply

    What's even more repulsive is that actually happened to a pizza guy a few years ago (who died when the bomb exploded). A major loss of respect for EVERYONE involved in this film....

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