FILM REVIEW: 30 Minutes or Less (15)

The title of Ruben Fleischer’s scatterbrained action-comedy refers to the promise of Vito’s Pizzeria to its customers about the maximum waiting time for delivered food.

30 Minutes Or Less should have referred to the total running time of Fleischer’s film because while there are some nice ideas in Michael Diliberti’s script, they are spread more thinly than the toppings on one of Vito’s thin crust bases.

Characters are two-dimensional, the plot nonsensical and some of the filthy-minded humour leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

There are undoubted belly laughs, like when the vapid heroine asks her pot-smoking suitor, played by Jesse Eisenberg, who was Oscar nominated for The Social Network, if he has seen an old school friend’s Facebook update.

“You know I don’t check that. I’m off the grid,” he deadpans.

Flashes of brilliance are few and far between, sadly outweighed by the characters’ inconsistent behaviour, lapses in logic and a lacklustre car chase to the thumping beat of the 1984 classic The Heat Is On by Glenn Frey.

Dwayne (Danny McBride) and his pal Travis (Nick Swardson) cower in the shadow of Dwayne’s domineering father, The Major (Fred Ward), who won 10 million dollars on the lottery and has frittered away most of the cash on cars and widescreen TVs.

Money-grabbing lap dancer Juici (Bianca Kajlich) suggests a radical solution: pay hit man Chongo (Michael Pena) 100,000 dollars to kill the old man.

Of course, Dwayne doesn’t have that kind of cash so he hatches a hare-brained scheme with Travis to kidnap pizza delivery guy Nick (Eisenberg), strap a bomb to his chest and then force the fall guy to rob a bank for the hit man’s extortionate fee.

With just 10 hours until the bomb explodes, Nick begs teacher best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), to help him pull off the ambitious heist and evade the cops.

Despite a recent argument about Chet’s twin sister Katie (Dilshad Vadsaria), the teacher agrees and the friends hurry to their local supermarket to pick up balaclavas and toy guns for the hold-up.

Fleischer made an impressive directorial debut in 2009 with Zombieland, also starring Eisenberg, which confidently married horror and comedy.

Alas, the head-on collision of action and comedy in 30 Minutes Or Less fails to excite us.

There’s no obvious sense of urgency and in the closing frames, there is a glaring discrepancy between the bomb’s timer and the chaotic sequence of events.

None of the characters are particularly likable - we certainly wouldn’t shed a tear if Eisenberg’s whining fall guy went up in a cloud of smoke - so we don’t have anyone to root for as Diliberti’s screenplay lurches from the bizarre to the ridiculous.

By Damon Smith

:: SWEARING :: SEX :: VIOLENCE :: RATING: 5/10

Released: September 16 (UK & Ireland), 83 mins