Tag Archives: kenny powers

TAKE TWO: 30 Minutes or Less

19 Aug

30 Minutes or Less

Rated: R

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Chris’ Take: Ruben Fleischer was the talk of the action-comedy town back in 2009, with his smash hit zombie comedy (or zomcom for short) Zombieland. The script was snappy, the action superb and it was enjoyable from start to finish. His latest comedy attempt, reuniting him with star Jesse Eisenberg, shows only a minute amount of the genius that he displayed.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a pizza delivery boy who spends his off time getting stoned and dating the sister of his best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari). When Nick receives a pizza order that takes him out to an abandoned warehouse, he soon finds himself kidnapped by two redneck criminals, Dwayne and Travis (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson), who strap a bomb to him and tell him that he has 10 hours to rob a bank or he’ll blow up.

The film starts out fast enough, introducing us to two somewhat likeable idiots as protagonists and Danny McBride channeling his inner Kenny Powers, but we really didn’t get to know the Chet and Nick as well as I would hope. There is about one scene where they are together and we establish that they are “friends”, but immediately there is discord and you don’t feel like you know them enough yet to care. It seemed that Fleischer spent more time establishing who the criminals were, almost to the point of making them sympathetic, that I felt that the film was going to be more of a dark comedy about Dwayne and Travis trying to kill Dwayne’s Dad.

From there, we immediately moved into the second act of the film, which moved rather quickly as well. Chet and Nick try to figure out how to rob a bank and put together a terrible plan, which was sure to bring hilarity, and it did. However, the second act was far too short and a scene which could’ve easily been stretched out, or at least made more comically intense was squandered. Maybe it had something to do with budget, maybe it had something to do with the writers not knowing where to go with a potential hostage situation, but I just felt like it was wasted.

Or maybe the writers were...

Then, the third act was upon us and stayed for what seemed like forever. At this point, I cared very little about any of the characters involved since Nick and Chet could’ve easily found a way around the previous situations, so they are kind of too dumb to be concerned about. Dwayne and Travis were the funnier pair, but you knew things couldn’t end well for them so it was a waste to root for them too. Michael Pena makes an appearance as a hitman, and was probably the funniest character introduced to the plot, but he kind of brought the laughs a little too late and I was just hoping this would be over as quickly as it started, but it dragged out.

He a pimp!

I really felt that a good portion of the time allotted to the conclusion of the plot could’ve been given to the beginning, establishing the friendship between Chet and Nick, or in the middle, lengthening out the ridiculous bank robbing scheme they developed.

When all was said and done (I won’t be specific because I don’t want to spoil it for you if you still want to see it), the actions of the “protagonists” had me pondering whether they were the better people. I guess they didn’t really want to kill anyone, but they definitely weren’t on any moral high ground, which isn’t exactly necessary to establish in a dark comedy, but 30 Minutes or Less didn’t conform to that genre.

With all the talent involved with the project, I expected more, and while I think it was admirable that they tried to limit their time to 83 minutes, I don’t think it was paced well at all. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Ruben Fleischer is a bad director, he’s proven before that he has talent, it just seemed like he was getting lazy this time around. Maybe if he added some zombies this would’ve been right up his alley.

OVERALL: C

Pac’s Take: I couldn’t agree more.

OVERALL: C

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Fall TV Premiere Wrap Up (Part I)

28 Sep

There was a time two years ago when I only watched two shows on a regular basis, The Office and Lost. Now, thanks to DVR, DVD, my fiance, my brother, and Netflix here is the list of shows that I watch regularly:

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, 30 Rock, The Office, Modern Family, Eastbound and Down, Supernatural, Glee, House, Entourage, and Mad Men. I am probably leaving some out and that is not including some of the stuff my fiance watches that I hope will be in exchange for some Maryland Terrapins basketball time this winter.

Here are my thoughts on each of the season premieres that I have seen so far. I will try to keep this brief.  

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Season Premiere Review: ***1/2 out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: This has been the funniest openings to an It’s Always Sunny since Season 3. Seasons 4 and 5 featured hit or miss episodes, but the first two episodes of this season have been hilarious. The story arc with everyone becoming romantically entwined for the wrong reasons has been engrossing and side splitting. There are now story threads that seem to be working over a couple of episodes rather than disappearing after one episode and it is working for the show. I hope it keeps this up.

The Event

Series Premiere Review: **1/2 out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: After all the hype, it kind of delivered, but only at the end. After watching one of the most convaluded flashback and present timeline conglomerations ever conceived in one episode, obviously borrowing heavily from Lost, it ended with a mysterious event (Hey! I get it now!) While I don’t care about any of the characters enough yet, I am interested in seeing a couple of them fleshed out, but something tells me that the majority of them will remain two-dimensional, and will only change through unconvincing plot twists. Still, the ending was enough to keep me wanting to see what exactly happened and I finished it OnDemand just in time to realize that I missed the first half of the second episode and didn’t have it on DVR.

Running Wilde

Series Premiere Rating: *1/2 out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: I was thoroughly excited to know that Will Arnett and Mitchell Hurwitz were collaborating on this show. It promised the return of a GOB character to tv and I thought what could go wrong? What we got was a mess, struggling from the start to force the humor and make changes throughout the episode that didn’t seem to make sense for the characters. While the show garnered a few laughs, it was not enough to satiate my desire for more. I will watch one or two more episodes to see if it was just the pilot setting the stage for something better, but I don’t see it going that way. I am guessing this show will be cancelled rather soon.

30 Rock

Season Premiere Review: ** out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: This premiere had a lot of potential, coming off the season finale that featured Jack’s marriage, Matt Damon and the departure of Kenneth (about as much of a cliffhanger as this show could have). Matt Damon did return to reprise his role, but it was very unfunny and added almost nothing to the story. All the gags seemed to fall flat, with the exception of Tracy hallucinating about seeing Kenneth and having him throw himself in front of a car to prove he was real. If the rest of the episodes are this stale, I think this show will run its course in the next year or so, but I like Tina Fey and crew, so I hope that is not the case.

The Office

Season Premiere Review: **1/2 out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: I had a lot of anticipation about this new season, with all the Michael Scott replacement rumors, but obviously that story arc will not happen until later. I was mildly amused most of the time and enjoyed the return of Jim and Pam’s pranks, but it didn’t seem to flow, especially the opening sequence which was zany, but not that funny and had nothing to do with the story and very little to do with the characters themselves. I did like how they didn’t worry about building up the romance between Gabe and Erin because it didn’t really need to be explained, it just was. I still hold out hope that this will be a very interesting season and look forward to the next episode.

Eastbound and Down

Season Premiere Rating: *** out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: While this wasn’t necessarily Kenny Powers at his funniest, it certainly introduced some hilarious secondary characters, especially his “side kick” who wasn’t his “side kick”, Aaron (Deep Roy).  I liked how Kenny is now transported to a small country and not only has a social barrier, but also a language barrier. This season probably will not be as funny as the last, but it is certainly off to a great start.

I have not watched the House or Modern Family premieres, but when I do, I will write a short excerpt on those as well.  Let me know your thoughts on the new seasons of your favorite shows in the comments!