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THIS REVIEW DEALS WITH GRAPHIC SEXUAL CONTENT AND IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN.

MPAA Rating
Credits
Genre
Comedy
Cast
Jesse Eisenberg as Nick; Danny McBride as Dwayne; Aziz Ansari as Chet; Nick Swardson as Travis; Dilshad Vadsaria as Kate; Fred Ward as The Major
Director
Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland)
Distributor
Columbia Pictures
In Theaters
August 12, 2011
On Video
November 29, 2011
Reviewer
Bob Hoose
30 Minutes or Less

30 Minutes or Less

Nick has been one of those "30 minutes or less" pizza delivery guys for a while now. And since he's pretty much an aimless slacker, it's as good a job as any. After all, he just has to drive like crazy, drop off lukewarm pizzas and con teens into giving him bigger tips. Hey, it buys him beer.

Dwayne, on the other hand, is a thinking man. A fellow with dreams. He wants to open his own business. Like, say, a tanning salon that offers paid sexual favors in the back room. Now that, he's convinced, would be a moneymaker. The only problem is, you gotta spend money to make it. He's broke. And he certainly doesn't want to have to work for the startup cash.

Then one night—while getting a halfhearted lap dance from a stripper—Dwayne has an epiphany. Well, actually the stripper, vulgarly nicknamed Juicy, makes the suggestion. But Dwayne likes to think he had something to do with it. Anyway, the idea is to hire a hit man, kill off his father and take the old goat's lottery winnings. It's perfect! All Dwayne has to do is come up with 100-grand to pay Juicy's hit man friend.

And here's where Nick comes back into the mix.

Dwayne and his plastic explosives-obsessed pal Travis cobble together an electronically triggered detonating vest, call for a late-night pizza delivery, snap the rig on Nick, and give him 10 hours or less to rob a bank and bring back $100,000 in cash. See, I told you Dwayne was a thinker.

Can't you just imagine all the f-bomb-laden hilarity that will happen next? No, strike that. Don't try to imagine it at all.

Positive Elements

The film does make a few weakly affirming comments about friendship. Nick and Chet, for example, forgive each other after they reveal how they've horribly, and sometimes purposely, messed up each other's lives. And Dwayne pauses to check on Travis after he's been set on fire.

A bit more poignant (a dangerous word to use here, I know) is the fact that Nick apologizes to Chet's sister Kate for having had sex with her—because it cheapened what he later realized was love.

Sexual Content

I mentioned the lap dance already. It happens in a strip joint featuring several bare-breasted dancers. And the activity is shown in explicit detail. Juicy caresses her bare breasts, among other things, to redirect Dwayne's attention back to her when the conversation turns to murder and the acquisition of lots of cash. We also see Juicy later in a formfitting and low-cut outfit. The camera does little more than ogle.

Chet's sister Kate also wears low-cut tops. We see Chet's reaction as a girl, just out of the frame, gives him oral sex. She then sits up and kisses him. During the credit reel we see an ad for Dwayne's tanning/sex parlor featuring busty bikini girls caressing him and another man. One quick shot shows a man exposing his (pixelated) crotch after oral sex.

Numerous (graphic) gags fly about various forms of sex, sex with friends and relatives, and physical manipulation of male and female sex organs. Dwayne runs through a series of "code word" tanning salon names that represent paid sexual favors.

Violent Content

A man is set on fire with a flamethrower and dies while screaming in agony. Before he's dead, he shoots the flamethrower's fuel tank and ignites his attacker as well. A bomb detonates and flips a moving van while enveloping it in a ball of flame. Several vehicles are smashed and wrecked in the midst of a car chase. During a bank robbery, a man is accidently shot in the knee. We see him holding the bloody limb.

Dwayne's dad, known as The Major, is shot in the side at point-blank range, and he also shoots his hit man attacker in the neck with a "pen gun." (The attacker pours rubbing alcohol on his open wound.) The hired assailant pistol whips and pummels several people, including Nick and The Major. In another scene, the hit man is slashed across the face with a wire that cuts his cheek open. In the midst of a struggle, Juicy jumps on Chet's back and he slams her headfirst into a parked car. Kate has a bag forced over her head and she's shoved around roughly by two men.

Dwayne and Travis use explosive charges to blow up watermelon.

Crude or Profane Language

The foul language flies at a rate that's almost impossible to track. So suffice it to say that there are well over 250 f-words and 75 s-words, at least a dozen misuses of God's and Jesus' names, and heaping handfuls each of "h‑‑‑," "d‑‑n," "a‑‑" and "b‑‑ch." Multiple foul references to male and female anatomy are spit out as well. Nick flips the bird at his friend.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Nick, Chet, Dwayne, Travis and The Major all drink beer at various points. A strip club scene shows people drinking. Chet reports that he downed three high-potency energy drinks. We see this jittery reaction.

Other Negative Elements

A few crude racial slurs enter the dialogue. Nick and Chet steal a neighbor's car. Dwayne offers to make Travis his business partner if he'll help him kill his father.

Conclusion

Britannica's online encyclopedia defines "low comedy" as: "Dramatic or literary entertainment with no underlying purpose except to provoke laughter by boasting, boisterous jokes, drunkenness, scolding, fighting, buffoonery, and other riotous activity." In the earlier days of film that label would have rested easily on the likes of the silly slapsticking Keystone Cops or Three Stooges. Nowadays, though, it's come to represent a new bottom-feeder breed of buffoon. A lower low comedy, if you will.

30 Minutes or Less sports a cast of dopey characters who are so base and sapheaded that if you were to lop out the tediously inane and wincingly crass parts of what they do you'd probably end up with a movie that was 30 minutes or less. Maybe 30 seconds. As part of all that, the script creates something of an all-new foul-mouthed language, as if to say that these dullards aren't even with it enough to speak normally. It's a lingo that's limited to a small group of one- or two-syllable words complemented by only one adjective: "f‑‑‑ing." And so that f-word descriptor fills their small-minded needs at every turn, whether something is great or horrible, big or small, precious or petty. Ad infinitum.

A lazy writer's job is made so much simpler with this kind of dialogue. But the rest of us enjoy communicating with a language blessed with a wealth of both fluid and functional adjectives. So I'll use a few to describe this particular flyblown flick: fetid, filthy, feeble-minded, fescennine, foul. Those are just a handful of the "f" words I came up with a couple minutes after screening the fatuous film.

Oh, and please note that funny isn't on the list.

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