McBride Strikes Again

Manhattan-based HE reader Chris attended last night’s GenArts screening of 30 Minutes or Less (Sony, 8.12) and came away mildly pleased, calling it a “fun comedy worth checking out.” But costar Danny McBride, he says, “proves once again that less is more with him…he has some funny moments, but also had many parts that fell flat and were met with near-silence.”

Pic is “loosely based on an unusual bank robbery which occurred on August 28, 2003 in Erie, Pennsylvania,” says the Wiki page, “in which pizza delivery man Brian Wells was killed when a bomb fastened to his neck detonated once he was apprehended by police.”

Synopsis: “After hiring an assassin to murder his father for his insurance money, the antagonist, Dwayne (Danny McBride), and partner in crime Travis (Nick Swardson), kidnap a pizza delivery guy named Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) and force him to rob a bank while wearing a bomb vest attached to a 10-hour timer.”

Chris says “the entire premise is absurd, of course…it’s a little strange how Eisenberg’s character is chosen to pull of the heist. But if you don’t get too caught up in these things and can accept the basic premise, there’s a good time to be had.

“Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari are the highlights, and their interplay as best friends with some baggage is a lot of fun. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but these guys make it work.

“I didn’t fully buy into the inherent danger of what was happening at all times, but then again I’m not sure I was supposed to. I didn’t see Zombieland, but enjoyed this enough to check it out, which qualifies as a recommendation in my book.”

I asked “what are the big knockout scenes that really work?”, etc.

“The bank robbery scene and the leadup to tjhat were my favorite scenes, with a few legitimately hilarious beats,” he said. “The whole thing is a credit to Eisenberg and Ansari playing two guys who are gaining an excessive amount of confidence as they go along, yet are still clearly amateurs at this whole crime thing. Their interplay throughout made the movie for me, and its the best thing about it by far.

“Another highlight is Michael Pena as the hitman hired to kill McBride’s father. There’s also a little love story involving Eisenberg and Ansari’s twin sister, that doesn’t hurt the movie, but isn’t important other to bring conflict between the two friends.

“Again, the thing that drags the movie down is McBride. I really enjoy Eastbound and Down, but that character is perfect for that show. Trying to apply that archetype character to so many other vehicles is a huge mistake. In the end the character he plays in this is just a pathetic loser, not exactly what you want from one of your main characters even if he’s supposed to be inept.

“When 30 Minutes or Less is ‘on’ it’s really firing on all cylinders. It just can’t keep that going consistently the whole way through. It’s a movie that tops out at ‘decent’ and holds that level.”

34 thoughts on “McBride Strikes Again

  1. Peterzee on said:

    I get tired of him by the time I’m near the :25 mark of his K-Swiss commercials. There’s just something icy and hard about the guy.

  2. Seems like a bunch of funny people playing a character that they each played in independently in another better written movie. Eisenberg doing his Zombieland neurotic kid thrown in to a bad situation sctick. Ansari Tom Haverfording, constantly going from a conversation voice to screaming. McBride banking on his Eastbound and Down/Pineapple Express act where he’s a scumbag disconnected from reality who thinks he’s doing the right thing because there’s a weak personality that chooses to leach on to him. I’m surprised Swardson doesn’t play a gay rollerskating hobo.

  3. Like I said back when this trailer was released a month or so ago… this looks pretty bad. I really like Aziz Ansari, but he’s a great sitcom talent, not a movie guy.

    Oh, and let’s never forget: the story that inspired this, the man actually died. But, please, by all means, let’s play this one for laughs.

    I can’t wait until the American Pie guys do the Casey Anthony Story…

  4. I like all these people, and I hear good things about the script, but goddamnit, does Nick Swarsdon skeeve me out. He seems like the weakest link by far in this whole thing – not funny, can’t act, not attractive, too fat to be thin, too thin to be fat, always plays faint retards. And we haven’t even SEEN fucking Bucky Larson yet.

  5. This movie is half very funny, half extremely annoying. And the annoying part is mostly thanks to Mr McBride. Whenever he is on screen, I just want to walk away from the movie.

  6. Must agree with Gabe. If there’s one guy who makes me laugh less than McBride, it’s Nick Swardson. How that guy stumbled into his enviable life is beyond me.

    And isn’t it just a little tacky that this is loosely based on a real life incident in which the pizza delivery guy actually died? Not to be a square or anything…

  7. I’ve said it before on this site, but it always bears repeating – Danny McBride is the unfunniest major player in any TV/films during my lifetime. He’s actively unfunny, and horribly offputting. “Eastbound and Down” is literally unwatchable. Literally. One’s eyes simply stop.

  8. McBride has his enabler in Will Farrell — both guys delight in playing douchebags I can see how playing a guy who’s an aggressive asshole would be a lot of fun, but that doesn’t make it funny for an audience. Those K Swiss commercials are incredibly unfunny. Do they really think the average person knows who Kenny Powers even is?

  9. I’ve seen it. It’s actually pretty okay. Not groundbreaking stuff but I liked it more than other movies of it’s ilk, including even PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. McBride is by no means the weak link.

  10. Has anybody mentioned that this is at least partially based on a true story. A real life pizza man died under similar circumstances.

  11. “In real life, the guy who died turned out to be in on the scam. So…he got what he deserved.”

    Um, no. Attempted bank robbery merits a few years in stir, not violent death.

  12. I’ve said it before on this site, but it always bears repeating – Danny McBride is the unfunniest major player in any TV/films during my lifetime. He’s actively unfunny, and horribly offputting. “Eastbound and Down” is literally unwatchable. Literally. One’s eyes simply stop.

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