Storytelling

30 Laughs or Less

I recently saw “30 Minutes or Less” and what I really liked were the performances. I have been a mad Fred Ward fan ever since “Miami Blues”, and that movie is a good gauge of what “30 Minutes or Less” probably aspired to be. Like “Miami Blues”, “30 Minutes or Less” is anchored by strong performances. The cast, however, is chock full of comedians. Funny guys, too. I went to the movie just to see Aziz Ansari (and I’m writing this blog post to hopefully remember which is his first name, and which is his last).

The premise is dark, but the capricious manner in which the bad guys approach their task reminds me of similar characters on the animated TV show “Boondocks” in which a young man of privilege uses his wealth and life of leisure to pursue para-military hobbies, leading to mayhem.

The reviews I read mentioned that Aziz stole most of the scenes with his nervous manners and frantic delivery of lines, and they were right. He brought energy and enjoyment to the role. I wonder if the picture might have been better if Aziz wor. the strap-on, and Jesse Eisenberg provided the nervous, hyporchondriac-styled support.

The magic worked best for me when the two victims rob a bank, and the ensemble they encounter deliver several funny moments (but I’m a sucker for jokes in a business setting). I so thoroughly enjoyed the man in the bank who was shot that I really wanted to see the main character explode. That wish is almost granted in the end during the minor but gruesome blood bath of the climax. It was kind of like seducing a meat grinder: you may be held in suspense as whether or not you’re going to score, but there’s no doubt that the money-shot will be messy.