A buddy comedy with a sick premise and a lot of cursing, 30 Minutes or Less is an extremely basic comedy. There are no big surprises or innovations, but it often manages to be funny.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a slacker content to smoke weed, watch movies, and break every traffic law out there as he races to deliver pizzas within 30 minutes (but never manages to do so). Nick seems upset that his buddy Chet (Aziz Ansari) has a real job as a substitute teacher (even if Chet seems most enthused that he has a laser pointer); Nick's also upset that Chet's sister Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria) is moving away to work at hotel management. And Nick and Chet get in a big fight, revealing that Chet slept with Nick's ex-girlfriend and Nick slept with Kate.

Elsewhere in town, there are two far more dangerous slackers. Dwayne (Danny McBride) has dreams of opening a tanning salon/prostitution ring, but all he does is hang out with his buddy Travis (Nick Swardson), who learns how to do things online and follows Dwayne like a puppy dog. Dwayne's father, the Major (Fred Ward), won the lottery -- and Dwayne is afraid that he'll blow through his winnings, leaving Dwayne with nothing. A stripper named Juicy (Bianca Kajlich) tells Dwayne that for a hundred thousand dollars, she'll hire her friend (actually her boyfriend) Chango (Michael Pena) to kill the Major.

So Dwayne and Travis get Nick to an abandoned junkyard, strap an explosive-filled vest (built by Travis) to him, and give him ten hours to rob a bank and give them the money. Nick recruits Chet to help him, and they're off! But Dwayne isn't about to let the "loose end" live, Travis is having pangs of guilt, Chango is running around without knowing what everyone's plan is, and Nick is panicking over the increasing possibility that he'll explode -- if the cops don't catch him first.

30 Minutes or Less is very simple and straightforward. While the plot takes a few turns here and there, the movie doesn't try for any big surprises or cleverness. Fortunately, this movie can be pretty funny. Jesse Eisenberg works pretty well as the straight man (who spends much of the movie in a "I can't believe this is happening" mode), and Aziz Ansari delivers all his lines with a terrific attitude. Danny McBride is also great as the villain, a braggart filled with vague plans who pictures himself as a criminal mastermind. The movie gets violent at the end, and is filled with cursing from start to finish, but 30 Minutes or Less makes up for its straightforward technique with some good jokes and great comic actors.

Overall grade: B-

Reviewed by James Lynch

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