Counter-terrorism expert Mark Sageman has described what he calls the “bunch of guys” theory. Instead of looking for a mastermind and a bunch of crackerjack operatives, Sageman says more often the people who create mayhem are a bunch of guys who think they are more intelligent and capable than they really are. “30 Minutes or Less” is what we could call a “bunch of guys” movie about two pairs of guy-friends who get wrapped up in a bank robbery and murder for hire from a combination of bitterness, slackerdom, and way too many movies and video games, with constant crude language and sexual references. In other words, if Quentin Tarantino made a Three Stooges heist movie, this is what it would look like.
Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Adam Sandler pal Nick Swardson), in the tradition of duos from Jay and Silent Bob to Dumb and Dumber spend their days hanging around the house Dwayne’s dad (Fred Ward) bought with his $10 million lottery winnings. They eat, squabble, blow stuff up, watch movies, play video games, and talk about all the things they could do if they had the money.
Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) delivers pizzas for a place that promises if it doesn’t get there in 30 minutes, it’s free. His best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari of “Parks and Recreation”) is a teacher and the twin brother of the girl Nick likes. They hang out, squabble, and watch movies.
Dwayne decides to hire someone to kill his father, a retired Major (Fred Ward). But it costs $100,000, so before he can do that, he decides to force some random guy to rob a bank for him by making him wear a vest covered with explosives. How do you get a random guy to come to an isolated place? Order a pizza.
This is a fairly standard “dumb guys do dumb stuff” movie along the lines of “Pineapple Express.” There are some funny moments and clever conceits but the family of a real-life young man who was killed in a similar incident has raised strong objections to turning a tragic story into a buddy comedy and it is difficult for this slight material to overcome that blight.
Parents should know that this film has constant very strong, explicit, and crude language, extremely vulgar sexual references including prostitution and discussion of various sex acts, female nudity, some graphic violence including guns, crashes, and explosives, drinking, smoking, drug references
Family discussion: How did the movies the characters watched influence their plans and their evaluation of their options? What will happen to them after the end of the movie?
If you like this, try: “Pineapple Express” and “Welcome to Collinwood”