Friday, December 6, 2013

REVIEW: 30 Minutes or Less (2011)

WARNING: The review you are about to read is incredibly vitriolic and hate-filled. It is the product of a film that drove me to abject misery with its repertoire of complete horridness in every way. Stay clear of the film described in this review, for it will destroy your soul. This has been a Cinema Freaks PSA.

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari

Fuck this movie. I mean it – this is just the pits. It’s a piece of trash. For those of you who don’t remember, this was released a few years back. It’s a “comedy” about some loser who gets kidnapped by some other losers and gets a bomb strapped to his chest. Through an overly complicated and yet overly uninteresting chain of events, he has to rob a bank or else they’ll blow him up. While this could have maybe yielded a few laughs, really everything about it is completely awful and unfunny. I seriously think it made me dumber.

Well, let’s just find out – if I can make it through the review, maybe it’ll give me the reassurance that the movie didn’t totally lobotomize me. We start off with Jesse Eisenberg, delivering pizza. He may not be a Facebook CEO in this movie, but he sure still has the same jittery, hyperactive-yet-sleepy sounding delivery he always does. And the charm is wearing off, I gotta say.

Seeing him in this role after watching the excellent Social Network, where he played a fast-talking genius and put his all into the performance, is about as heartbreaking as it gets.

Apparently he works for a pizza company that goes by the “30 minutes or less” rule, which means if he doesn’t get the pizza in 30 minutes to its destination, it’s free and instead comes out of his paycheck. I know this is a real life thing, but come on, that is a SHIT job, man! Why would you even work for a place like that? Was the job of ‘school janitor’ too low-brow for you? Did you get turned away from the job as ‘giant cartoon dog mascot out front of the Party City store’?

So, okay, this alone isn’t enough to call the movie shit yet. Maybe the movie still has some tricks up its sleeve, right? Like when he goes to see his girlfriend-ish character – it’s really pretty vague what they’re supposed to be. They have a fairly normal conversation about her moving to Atlanta to start a new job. But in the middle of all of that, she talks about how some guy who has since come out as gay once fingered her over the pants at some party.

"Hey, I'm a generic modern comedy girl! I make casual offhand references to sex and my body in ways normal human beings would never do! I'm lowering my own talent to the whims of a passive aggressive guy who didn't get to go to Prom!"

Who talks like that? It’s just more of the bullshit ethos we always get with these movies – oh, that girl is hot, have her talk about sex in some really frank, crude way to a guy that most normal, real life girls would never say that shit to. It’s just some jerk-off man child writer’s way of getting back at all the girls who spurned him in high school. It’s a bunch of fantastical, perverted bullshit that I think we should move beyond.

So aside from all of that wonderfulness, we have a second plot thread in this movie about two jackasses who apparently have no jobs and live in some huge mansion. If you really thought this was a deep Shakespearean work of art before, well, just take a look at this scene, where they test out their 3D glasses while watching Friday the 13th 3D by going and humping Jason on the screen:

I genuinely feel sorry for Danny McBride in this. I've seen these kinds of characters before in other movies - the spoiled angry man child type character - but never quite this bad. Never quite this soul-suckingly vapid and mean spirited.

Isn’t that just wonderful? And the best part is that this is the highlight for these two characters in the movie.

Yup, they’re the “villains” of the picture, I guess…they pretty much spend the entirety of the movie’s first act just mouthing off like they’re being wronged somehow because the dad tells them to get a job. Yeah, how DARE he not let you two thirty-year-old ass-wipes live in his house and do nothing all day! These poor young men who have done NOTHING wrong and are PERFECT model citizens…oh, wait, no. They’re just fuckin’ abominable, hate-filled dipshits. Take a look at some of their brilliant dialogue in this:

Dwayne: What is the one thing this town is missing? I'll give you a hint. It's cash business and it's crawling with sexy bitches.

Travis: Chinese food restaurant?

Dwayne: No.

Travis: Abortion clinic?

WHO WRITES THAT??? That is awful! It’s not funny in any possible, conceivable reality! What kind of sick psychopath would actually put that down on paper? Did people laugh at this shit in theaters? You know what; all bets are off. If this fucking movie can’t even go five minutes without something as tasteless as that, clearly all hope is lost and we are entering ‘Old Dogs’ or ‘Step Brothers’ levels of pure asinine filth. Brace yourselves, people.

So I guess they want to kill Dwayne’s father, or something, so they can get the money in his inheritance and live like kings. Even though they’ve basically already been living that way up until five minutes ago, and could easily do so again if they would just get jobs…but I guess incredibly complicated, overly ridiculous schemes are easier for them. Pfft. Oh, get this – they decide they want to open a tanning salon as a front for a prostitution ring. That’s their big plan to get rich after they kill the father.

…Why are you still alive, movie? I’m seriously asking. No rhetorical sarcastic crap at all. Why don’t you just end this all now and kill yourself? You know it’s not getting any better. You know it just gets more and more bigoted, stupid and annoying from this point on! Sigh…

Anyway, back at Jesse Eisenberg’s house, we get him with his roommate, comedian Aziz Ansari, who I think knew this was a stinker – his performance is more phoned in than a Verizon mobile store. Jesus. Look at this scene, where he and Eisenberg get into an argument. That chick Eisenberg is dating is, apparently, Ansari’s sister. Eisenberg says he had sex with her once, years ago, and Ansari retorts by saying that he was the reason Eisenberg’s parents split up when he was a kid. Yeah, apparently somehow, Ansari found out Eisenberg’s mom was cheating on his dad and told the whole neighborhood, and then Eisenberg’s dad split up with his mom. I’m pretty sure that marriage wasn’t very strong to begin with then, if a rumor started by a 13-year-old could destroy it.

But anyway, what results is the worst episode of Jerry Springer ever made:

Should we come back later? It seems you're having a bit of a private moment.

The sheer pointlessness and lack of any kind of caring is just astounding to me. Could you be any less entertaining?

…don’t answer that.

And really, what is up with this whole “made his parents divorce” plot? It’s not a main part of the movie and is really just…kinda bizarre, so I don’t get it at all. It’s like the filmmakers just forgot about it so we only got a few isolated, non-sequitur lines about it. Maybe it was supposed to set up Jesse Eisenberg’s “character,” but his character amounts to nobody you’d ever want to spend time with anyway.

So let’s just get to our actual “plot” – we see Dwayne and his buddy plotting what to do, and they come up with the idea to make a bomb and kidnap a pizza guy and force him to rob a bank. The money from that will apparently go towards paying a hitman to kill Dwayne’s father, so they can inherit his money. That’s…incredibly fuckin’ dumb. I mean, why not just take the money from the bank and start with that? Wouldn’t THAT be an easier plan to exact?

And how did they build that bomb? I think the movie is trying to tell us that the dumb guy, Travis, did it, and is some kind of idiot savant. I mean, he made that thing in like, less than a day. And yet he’s hanging around with an asshole like Dwayne. Talk about wasted potential. Or just horrible writing, in that the movie expects us to believe a guy who could build bombs with complicated set-up systems and coded locks in less than a day would lower himself to be second banana to this asshole.

This is the face of the next modern technological genius!

Then again, half of his lines in this movie are “That’s what she said” jokes.

These scenes where they have him tied up and stuff are just so unpleasant – where are the jokes? It’s certainly not dramatic, seeing as these characters couldn’t pass a Litmus test to be dramatic in a million years. But it’s not funny either. All they do is shout a lot, make threats a lot…so what is it then? It mostly hits ‘as unpleasant as having a colonoscopy done by Freddy Krueger on meth.’

Yeah, nobody needed to see a mash-up of Zombieland and Planet of the Apes, thanks.

So then we get some painful, unfunny scenes of Jesse Eisenberg trying to get the bomb vest off and enlisting Aziz Ansari in his scheme. He even brings the bomb into the school Ansari works at – that’s right, a school. He’s such a worthless piece of crap that he actually brings a bomb into a school. The movie even points that one out for us – amazing when the film is actually disgusted with itself.

Ansari and Eisenberg go to the Dollar Store and purchase a bunch of guns, ski masks and all sorts of other crap that prompts the cashier to accuse them of being rapists. Because that’s how cashiers at stores like this talk! That wouldn’t alienate and drive away customers at all!

"I'm the sassy black woman of the film! Watch as I tick off all the stereotypes in under a minute!"

Those scenes are interspersed with even more annoying ones of the two worthless sacks of shit “masterminding” this whole heist, Dwayne and Travis. Everything they say, every little piece of dialogue, just hurts me – it’s like each line is a jab at my intestines with a ritualistic dagger. It’s just painful. I’ll give you an example:

[Dwayne is about to blow Eisenberg up]

Travis: No, wait!

Dwayne: What, are you fucking gay for this faggot?

Yeah, because not wanting to kill a guy means he must be gay for him. Of course. You festering waste of breathing space.

"Hello? Yes, I'd like to order a personality that isn't composed of a caricature of what 50 year old Bible Belt soccer moms think the Millennial generation is like?"

There’s really just nothing interesting or likable about these god-awful characters. I know what you’re thinking – “oh, well not every character can be likable;” well, no. This goes beyond simply trying to make annoying characters for the sake of comedy. It’s more like flogging the dead corpse of comedy and then dancing on its decrepit body afterwards.

We also get a new character, some hitman, who works with a stripper to plot to kill Dwayne’s dad and get the money. He looks at her ass while she’s getting in the car, aaaand that’s the scene – wasn’t that worth putting on screen?

Eisenberg and Ansari steal a car to go rob the bank with, and it goes about as well as you’d expect. That is to say, they bumble around a lot, some guy gets shot, the bag with the money explodes in the guy’s face and there’s a lot of screaming, yelling and retarded dialogue masquerading as jokes.

I can feel Place Beyond the Pines taking notes! They run outside, Eisenberg threatens a police officer with the bomb – truly a triumphant moment in the history of main characters in films – and then he and Ansari pull some driving stunts that play out like Fast and the Furious meets bad Youtube stunt videos. Eventually they get out of it and start making jokes about how awesome everything they did was.

"Hur hur hur, we just got a man shot, stole honest hard working peoples' money and proved the inefficiency of the police department!" Don't those smug-ass expressions say it all?

Yeah, fuck this.

I guess they make up and are now officially friends again. Aww. Now just add each other back on Facebook and it’ll be official for really real! We then get a scene only moments later where Eisenberg goads Dwayne to set off the bomb, and Ansari begs to be let out of the car for good. Friends to the end? I think so.

They argue and scream some more. This movie has, really, zero ideas – it tries to mask that fact by having every character scream and swear a lot for no reason. There are no jokes. Jesus, this is bad. So what, there’s some diner scene where Dwayne tries to “psychologically” goad Travis into blowing the bomb up? Is this supposed to be dramatic? That’s a laugh. The effect is similar to that time you went and saw a theater production of Death of a Salesman, except all the actors were wearing red clown noses – completely ineffective and illogical.

Then they get the idea to kidnap Eisenberg’s girlfriend – i.e. Ansari’s sister. So, somewhere in this movie’s fat rolls of “plot,” apparently Ansari told Eisenberg the only way he’d help him out was if Eisenberg stayed away from his sister. Being a moron, Eisenberg directly disobeyed that and led the bad guys straight to her as he tried to tell her goodbye earlier. Now they corner her in a bathroom and call her a “slumdog” – would telling the writers to go fuck themselves for that one be one too many uses of profanity in this review?

Did she at least get to wipe before they kidnapped her?

Then we get the final showdown, as all our unlikable characters get together and try to blow each other up. Please, please let that happen! But of course it doesn’t. Dwayne gives Eisenberg the code for the bomb vest to take it off – are you ready for this mind blowing numerical equation that the film chose for his code? It’s “69 69 69.” GENIUS…if you’re a 13-year-old boy who just watched Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back for the first time. Though THIS movie makes that one look like an intellectual gestalt in comparison.

They beat the bad guys, save the girl and drive away. Dwayne comes after them in his van and it turns out that Jesse Eisenberg rigged the bomb vest to blow up inside the van, which it does, effectively murdering Dwayne. Great, so now we’re supposed to be rooting for a deadbeat loser who murdered a man with a bomb, ending his life in one of the most horrible ways you can go. Hooray for the…good guys…?

They also get away with the bank robbery, too. We end on a stupid joke about Aziz Ansari finding out that the money is rigged with that blue liquid crap that banks use now, just like it was when they first tried to rob the bank.

It’s about as soulless as your average Dementor. Just quit pretending you're trying at all and flash dollar signs over the screen; it would be more accurate.

I hate everything about this. I hate the lame-ass storyline. What was the point of anything? It wasn’t particularly funny and the whole thing was pretty much just rejected from bad mid-90s comedies; there was really nothing about it that screamed ‘make a movie about me.’ It was like the only reason for creating this pre-processed junk food of a film was a lazy shrug and a ‘eh, we have nothing better to do.’ TRY HARDER.

I hate the characters most of all. They’re miserable! They’re absolutely abhorrent, wretched excuses for human beings! Who were we supposed to root for in this? The murdering deadbeat underachiever pizza boy or the psychotic raging selfish man-child with no likable qualities about him? Even the girlfriend is only slightly more likable due to having less screentime, but she’s just a cheap romantic foil anyway. There’s no incentive to watch this because all the characters are horrible, horrible fuckin’ people, with no redeeming qualities to them!

Oh, and what, so this was based on a true story in which a real life pizza man was kidnapped, had a bomb strapped to him and was killed as a result? Well in that case, I guess the film has more credibility to, wait, it's actually more despicable for that. Who the hell thought up that brilliant idea? Maybe movie studios should think twice about hiring deranged mental patients who just watched CNN for the first time in five years to write scripts for them. Christ, what a fucking abomination.

This whole movie just sucks. It’s nothing but unpleasant scene after unpleasant scene, filled with characters you’d rather punch in the face than see succeed, and it does horrible disrespect to an actual tragedy. I don't know how this could be any worse short of just showing bestiality porn during the cut-scenes. Fuck everything about this.

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