Truth be told I thoroughly enjoyed the 2009 semi-hit Zombieland. The movie caught me off guard with its creativity, constant wit, and talented cast. First time director Ruben Fleischer really made a name for himself with it's strong cult following. Therefore, when it was time to decide on a second major release, Fleischer convinced his Zombieland lead, and Oscar Nominee, Jesse Eisenberg to star in another short scripted 30 Minutes or Less. Leaving only one question, could the duo replicate their previous success?
30 Minutes or Less centers around twenty something year old Nick (Eisenberg) who currently finds himself living a boring life as a local pizza delivery driver. Virtually in love with his best friend Chet's (Aziz Ansari) sister, the life long best friends quickly find themselves at odds. But one day on a last minute deliver, a pair of brainless schemers named Dwayne (McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) kidnap and strap a bomb to Nick. Desperate for $100,000, they tell Nick he has 10 hours to rob a bank and come up with the money or else the bomb will detonate. In a race against time, Nick and Chet must struggle to find their way out of this predicament.
Fresh off of a long awards season, Eisenberg returns to the screen in a familiar fashion. Once again playing a stereotypical role for himself, the shy, guarded protagonist trapped in circumstances outside of his comfort zone. In the movie Eisenberg and his fellow cast all give effortless but natural performances. However, 30 Minutes of Less ends up landing in the realm of forgettable pictures. The movie delivers a systematic flow that never seems boring, yet the plot is too run of the mill to reel in the audience.
There are enough clever one liners by all characters to keep you laughing throughout the movie, but at the end of the day Ruben Fleischer fails to recapture a spark similar to his debut motion picture. 30 Minutes or Less inadequately develops its characters enough to allow the audience to connect. As a result, the film leaves almost no lasting impact on its viewers.
Fleischer and Eisenberg are certainly talented, and maybe there paths will cross again down the line. However, when matched up against Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less seems all too mediocre and methodical. With very little originality to go off of, the movie is nothing more than an average time filler.