All hail the action comedy: Lethal Weapon, Pineapple Express, and now the raunchy, quick-paced 30 Minutes or Less from Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer. The formula, at least, remains sound. The idea is to keep you laughing while the goofy characters find themselves in car chases and shootouts. In this film, first-time screenwriter Michael Diliberti tackles the real-life case of Brian Douglas Wells, a 46-year-old pizza delivery man who was supposedly forced to rob a bank by threat of a bomb collar strapped to him.
So we’ve got some pretty hilarious material to work with here. To make a long story short, the real Wells was a conspirator and the bomb really did go off while he was wearing it. You’ll have to see the movie to find out if they keep this knee-slapper of an ending. In our Hollywood comedy, however, boppin’ teen Nick (Eisenberg), a crude, irreverent youngster, comes to grips with reality when a pair of monkey-masked buffoons (McBride and Swardson) trap him in a trailer park and strap a homemade bomb vest to him.
Nick really does rob the bank with his roommate Chet (Aziz Ansari), the responsible substitute teacher who spits out rapid-fire jokes to the point of incomprehension. I mean this thing is loaded with one-liners and kooky street talk. The film starts slow; the trailers disclose most of the first 30 minutes. But the only legitimately weak parts are some scenes between the novice criminals. Most of it is childish, but with sort of a witty twist on these new action comedies. Expect some wild twists near the end, but what’s obvious about this picture is that Diliberti dropped a makeshift script into Fleischer’s lap, leaving Ansari, McBride and Eisenberg to fill in the holes. Oh, plus there’s nudity and kidnapping for good measure.