A group of people sit around a table eating pizza and laughing. Aziz Ansari is telling a joke about how curly hair and green polos are coming into style. Jesse Eisenberg sits off to the side trying to keep soda from coming out of his nose. Ansari and Eisenberg have recently joined forces to bring us a summer comedy with explosive thrills — literally. Together this young Hollywood duo is a comedic walking tag team. Ansari, known for his loud observational comedy, stands as an encyclopedia of pop culture knowledge, jumping on any opportunity to tie films like “Point Break” and “Die Hard” into the everyday conversation.
Eisenberg, characterized by his fast paced wit in films like “The Social Network,” is more of the pensive type, often speaking up to hammer a point home in keen fashion. Together, they create a relaxed spontaneity reminiscent of an old friendship. In their upcoming film “30 Minutes or Less” Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) gets kidnapped and is forced into robbing a bank by Dwayne (Danny McBride) and his partner Travis (Nick Swardson) by being strapped with a ticking time bomb. Nick finds help in Chet (Aziz Ansari), a teacher and friend of his. After putting their differences aside, Nick and Chet set out to pull the biggest heist of their lives.
The stars of “30 Minutes or Less” find themselves coming from different parts of life, but similar points in their careers. Eisenberg received much praise in his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg and now find himself as a Hollywood A-lister making the rounds in what many would call the second phase of his career. When asked what he would do if he found himself under the same circumstances as his character, without being rich and famous, Eisenberg quickly smiled and says, “Waits, I’m having a hard time figuring out how exactly it is to not be rich and famous.” His humor brings to light a reality where not too long ago being called rich and famous would have been the jokes itself.
Ansari, who after years of establishing himself as a comedian with originality, has found a following on the NBC show “Parks and Recreation.” Known for his R. Kelly impersonation, Ansari stars in his first major leading role in “30 Minutes or Less.” A true student of the action genre, Ansari finds sanctuary amongst the plot of his new film. When asked what his favorite heist movie is, he responded, “Point Break,’ ‘Heat,’ and Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Killing.’” He goes on to admit that the line towards the end of the film where his character references John McClane was improvised. “I love Die Hard, what can I say.” Said Ansari.
The cinema loving nature of Chet runs parallel to Ansari’s own interests. Whether it’s discussing how he plans to remake “Point Break” on “Parks and Recreation,” or literally paying tribute to these films on the silver screen, Ansari brings his own flare into everything he does.
Eisenberg stands as the well-rounded actor who can do a bit of it all. Ansari gives off a sense of veteran showmanship in the backdrop of down and dirty comedy. Together they produce a contrast that is attractive on and off the screen. We find them both at a crossroads where experience has been acquired and success is all that much more appreciated. Coming from different paths in life it is interesting to witness how in a comedy duo, or another relationship in life, it is often more rewarding to build off the differences than remain lackluster in similarity.