|Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, 30 Minutes or Less, Columbia Pictures, 2011.|
The scatological "bromance" has achieved such mystifying heft as a major Hollywood genre that it seems most have forgotten that the "buddy system" has been a feature of storytelling long before celluloid. The recent onslaught of homoerotic slapstick schtick ranges from DOA to stagnant to surprisingly good. Ruben Fleischer's newest entry into the Apatow arena is one of the more noteworthy.
30 Minutes or Less slants a disturbing true crime story into a rural satire on masculinity and crime, ruptured by the customary dick jokes and pratfalls. Fleischer has now proven he is a gifted director of genre mash-ups and dark comedies. His Zombieland was a well done horror spoof, and now he proves with his newest picture that he has a firm hand and uncompromising intelligence by transcending the cringe worthy cliches of the bromance. Michael Diliberti's screenplay sticks to the simplistics of character and exposition while digging in the well thought out one liners. This allows Fleischer to visually expand on his own inspirations, jibing the action-comedy buddy films of the Eighties.
The superb cast elevates the material as well. Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari play off one another expertly, expanding the horizons of their typical characters beyond studio comedy standard. Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Michael Pena and Fred Ward are all in top form as well.
Even though alot of this has been done before, Fleischer and co. do it with a grace and levity which feels refreshing. A mercifully brief running time, flashy visual style and the deeply calibrated turn of the excellent Eisenberg all combine for a caper film well worth the punishment.