Review in a Hurry: Don’t “friend” Jesse Eisenberg‘s Social Network follow-up. This manic, mean-spirited actionner about a pizza delivery guy who’s forced to rob a bank plays like a very low-rent Coen Brothers comedy. You should get free pizzas for enduring more than 30 minutes of this dud.
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The Bigger Picture: After voraciously, uproariously sinking his teeth into the brain-chomping genre, Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer turns to cranially challenged criminals. But this scattershot bank-robbery caper is as brainless as its bumbling “masterminds”—and the hungry zombies before them.
Pizza-boy slacker Nick (Eisenberg) ends up delivering pies to the wrong guys—volatile morons Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson), who plot to off Dwayne’s dad for his lottery winnings. See, they want to open a tanning salon that fronts for a prostitution ring. Genius.
The douchey dudes need cash to hire an assassin and kidnap Nick to steal the hit money for them. They strap the kid with a vest of explosives that will detonate if he contacts the police or fails to rob the specified bank within…10 hours. Why they give him so long makes no sense, but whatever.
As Dwayne and Travis keep watch (and yammer endlessly), Nick convinces former best bud Chet (Aziz Ansari) to help him with the heist. Their bungled burglary and drop-off is further complicated by the meddling assassin (Michael Peña) and his stripper girlfriend.
30 Minutes is less than it could’ve been. The pic poses as hipster cool and hilarious, but botches things as badly as the wannabe badasses. Any dark-comedy potential is marred by clumsy plotting, lame bros-before-hos bonding and witless banter riddled with racist, homophobic slurs.
Always earnest Eisenberg does his nervous, sputtery thing, while Ansari gets increasingly shrill and spastic. Boorish McBride and Swardson are similarly grating.
Fleischer does wrangle a few laughs and stages an exciting, mid-film car chase as well as a twisty (though overly dark) climax. But with the rest being crude filler, this whole flick should have run at 30 minutes or less.
The 180—a Second Opinion: Charismatic Peña is both sinister and sexy and rises above the stereotypical gangsta role.
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