By David Katz
Jesse Eisenberg wowed us with his intense portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (2010) and the soon-to-be-released Holy Rollers (2010) certainly demands a lot from him in terms of acting range but his next major film returns to more familiar Eisenberg territory. Reuniting with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, he fronts action-comedy 30 Minutes or Less, assisted by a talented roster of comedic talent: Aziz Ansari of Parks and Recreation fame looks the part in one of his first main film roles and Danny McBride won’t be provided with a better opportunity this year to atone for Your Highness (2011)…although he does still seem hell bent on swearing liberally. I guess you just have to accept some people for who they are.
The film follows a layabout pizza-delivery boy played by Eisenberg, who’s kidnapped by two crooks (McBride and Nick Swardson) that strap a bomb to his chest and force him to rob a bank. With only hours to pull off the job, he enlists the help of his teacher friend Chet (Anzari). As the clock ticks, the two must deal with hired assassins, police and all the trademark knockabout action-comedy debris you’d expect.
Looking at the lengthy red band trailer it’s hard to predict how this film will ultimately shape up. In its best moments, Eisenberg and Anzari’s camaraderie brings to mind Superbad (2007), with the slight difference that the characters have now grown up and are starting to adjust to twentysomething life. The OTT action hijinks could either elevate things to Blues Brothers-esque (1980) greatness, or completely disrupt the tone. This is surely not going to be a subtle film, but it could be an entertaining one. Eisenberg is known for generally shrewd career decisions but, until its release next October your best bet is to judge the trailer for yourself.