Posts Tagged ‘Jesse Eisenberg’

’30 Minutes’ a frantic action comedy

Sunday, August 14th, 2011
Aziz Ansari and Jesse Eisenberg in "30 Minutes or Less" Chet (Aziz Ansari), left, and Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) plot to steal a car in the shrill action comedy “30 Minutes or Less.”

“30 Minutes or Less” might have been a lickety-split action comedy had its running time actually been 30 minutes or less.

Ruben Fleischer’s movie runs a scant 83 minutes as it is, and that still gives his annoying, caffeinated characters plenty of time to wear out their energetic, promising welcome during the first act of a two-and-a-half act comedy.

Fleischer reunites with his “Zombieland” star Jesse Eisenberg in a project clearly intended to follow the model of the popular, quick and quirky undead horror comedy that works where this one does not.

Eisenberg brings his patented brand of nervous twitchiness to Nick, a slacker pizza delivery guy who drives like Burt Reynolds in a Hal Needham movie just to get the goods to the customer in under a half-hour.

As we see, he’s not all that successful, despite burning the tire tread.

Nick’s best friend Chet (the personable Aziz Ansari) has landed a job as a teacher. Despite taking a brave step into adulthood, Chet realizes his example is lost on Nick, who initiates incredulously childish, destructive fights that no normal friendship could withstand. (Chet takes responsibility for the divorce of Nick’s parents; Nick tortures Chet with details of how he deflowered Chet’s twin sister Kate, played by Dilshad Vadsaria.) (Read more…)

Cute ‘Rio’ undercut by cliches, stereotypes

Saturday, April 16th, 2011
Linda and Blu from "Rio" Linda (voiced by Leslie Mann) teaches Blu the bird (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) to brush his beak in the 3-D animated comedy “Rio.”

“Rio” presents a blandly generic story pumped full of life by bright and crisp animation — despite being dimmed by 3-D glasses — plus a bouncy musical score equipped with a few serviceable but forgettable original songs.

The script runs the gamut from sassy, humorous dialogue to a disappointing dependence on kid movie clichés. (Do we really need more tired advice like “Be yourself” or more sight gags of males hurting themselves where it really hurts?)

At least “Rio” boasts strong voice talents, so even the silliest of nonsensical sentences — such as Raphael the toucan’s advice, “Flying isn’t what you think up here, but what you feel in here!” — sound almost like wisdom.

At the start of “Rio,” poachers in Brazil birdnap a blue baby macaw that hasn’t even learned to fly, then whisk him off to market in the United States. His cage falls out of a truck while traveling through snowy Minnesota.

That’s where a little girl named Linda (voiced by Leslie Mann) discovers him, names him Blu and takes him home to be her best friend for many years.

Inexplicably, a comically overenthusiastic Brazilian bird specialist named Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) somehow locates the now adult Linda and tells her she must bring Blu back to the rain forest. (Read more…)

Face value: Witty ‘Social Network’ a telling portrait of our times

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network" Best pals Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), left, and Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) engage in legal disputes over the creation of Facebook in David Fincher’s “The Social Network.”

David Fincher’s superbly wrought “The Social Network” robustly chronicles the messy birth of that cultural, economic, political and sexual game-changer called Facebook, and does it with style, wit and invention.

The humor snaps.

The dialogue crackles.

The characters pop.

From the opening scene a simple exchange between two Harvard University students we can tell we’re in the hands of a master storyteller.

We instantly see that hotshot computer intellect Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) thinks fast, but talks even faster, and that he possesses zero skills when it comes to women, specifically his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara).

From this smart and energized introduction, “The Social Network” speed-skates along on Aaron Sorkin’s combustible script, fueled by clever wordplay, rapier insults and lightning-quick retorts that don’t exist in the non-movie universe.

Yet, Fincher keeps his characters firmly grounded in his surprisingly restrained motion picture that bears little of the flamboyant visual gimmicks of his “Fight Club,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Panic Room.”

“The Social Network” defies convention by splitting the role of protagonist between Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvardite Eduardo Saverin (future “Spider-Man” Andrew Garfield), his financially well-endowed friend who agrees to help Zuckerberg launch a site called “The Facebook.” (Read more…)