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- Publicado en Amazon.com
30 Minutes or Less is a slacker comedy from Ruben Fleischer, the director of Zombieland, that runs only 53 minutes more than its title suggests. The story of a pizza delivery boy who is forced to rob a bank by two thugs who strap a bomb to him, much has been made about how the film bears a remarkable similarity to a real-life, more tragic story from a few years ago. The creators have vehemently denied this story served as inspiration and while the true story may have provided the kernel of an idea for the screenwriters, the rest is taken in a substantially different, some may argue disrespectful, direction.
Jesse Eisenberg, fresh off his Oscar-nomination for The Social Network, plays Nick, a 20-something pizza boy who spends his days smoking pot and failing to deliver pizzas in the "30 minutes or less" timeframe the pizza chain promises. He has only one friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), a substitute teacher, but the two have a falling out over various admissions, including Nick's relationship with Chet's sister Katie (Dilshad Vadsaria). Meanwhile, two losers named Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) live under the shadow of Dwayne's domineering, ex-military father The Major (Fred Ward), while making $10 an hour cleaning his pool. At a strip-club, Dwayne tells a stripper about his father winning the lottery and how he could stand to inherit a couple million dollars if The Major were to die. Promising Dwayne a permanent position in his lap, the stripper tells Dwayne that if he can come up with $100,000, she knows someone who can make his father disappear indefinitely. With their get-rich-quick scheme in place, Dwayne and Travis ambush Nick, strap a bomb to his chest, and give him 10 hours to rob a bank.
The plot makes no apologies for how ridiculous it is, but is actually clever in the way it gives a rather stupid plan to really stupid characters. After all, Dwayne and Travis' plan to have Nick rob a bank and give them the money so they can get some money is rather redundant. This does however work well, as the Dwayne and Travis characters are completely witless. History has suggested that a film with such a short running time shows a lack of ideas on the part of the screenwriter. In this case, it works for the film rather than against it. 30 Minutes or Less is brief, but not a single scene seems unnecessary and the pacing is top-notch. This is a comedy that moves very quickly and is both very exciting and very funny without feeling too rushed. The actual robbery scene, one of the highlights, is laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely exciting as well. The bomb strapped to Nick provides the story with a sense of urgency too. The script will be dismissed as derivative due to the buddy-comedy, action-comedy elements that have been heavily used in other films but it's successful in the way it finds its footing very quickly and never becomes too dark, too serious, or too light-hearted. It's fast-moving and very consistent in the way it unfolds and how it keeps the humor fresh in a mostly un-funny situation. It actually ends well too, with an abrupt ending that is a Hollywood ending at heart but isn't a complete Hollywood cop-out. It does end abruptly and readings have revealed a much darker, effective ending in the original script, but it still succeeds by wisely avoiding the cheesy Hollywood need to wrap everything up nicely so audiences can leave feeling warm and fuzzy.
Fleischer is an excellent director that can balance the different genre elements with finesse and style. Whether he's directing dialogue scenes or the obligatory (in this type of film) car chase sequence, it all works and comes together nicely. There are also some subtle elements in the way he establishes the characters through look and attire. What is Fleischer suggesting by having Dwayne and Travis, the film's dumbest characters, wear Metallica and Insane Clown Posse shirts? If he is suggesting something, I applaud him. The film moves with a constant energy, helped along by a cast that has energy in spades. Eisenberg handles comedy quite well and he makes his performance in The Social Network seem even more impressive by comparison. His character Nick mentioning Facebook is an amusing little aside by itself. Ansari is a bundle of comedic energy, yet keeps his amped-up acting from going completely over-the-top. McBride, whom I consider to be one of the funniest comedians around, doesn't venture far from the dim-witted, egotistical jerk character he's made his name playing, but McBride possesses a comedic delivery that is unmatched by his contemporaries and he's as effective and hilarious as ever. Everyone has met a guy like the characters McBride plays and he plays these types with a satirical gusto that is much more layered than its low-brow humor suggests. Michael Peña is becoming the go-to-guy for comedic roles with over-the-top accents, but as a talented dramatic actor he makes each one different and, while over-the-top, it's never campy. His performance as the potential hitman Chongo is a highlight here. Even Nick Swardson, whom I never find particularly funny, is actually well-utilized here. There's a friendly, energetic chemistry between Eisenberg, Ansari, McBride, and Swardson that really drives the film. It's apparent that the actors involved had a good time making it, which translates well onscreen and makes the movie even more of a joy to watch. When actors can be seen clearly having fun with their work, this generally has a positive effect on the audience viewing the film. From the actor's demeanor and rapport, I'd guess this was about as fun to make as it was to watch.
30 Minutes or Less is simple summer, Hollywood fun with a cast of talented comedic actors working within the confines of stronger-than-expected material. It hasn't been received too well, but comedy is the most subjective genre of film and film critics don't exactly fall into this film's demographic. It's fun and energetic, with non-stop humor that will be enjoyed by the average moviegoer and anyone who has liked the previous work of the principal cast. How one can pan a film so highly enjoyable is beyond me.