Director Ruben Fleischer gets guy-humor, dude

Jesse Eisenberg, left, and Aziz Ansari star in “30 Minutes or Less,” which opens on August 12.

As someone who directed last year’s action-comedy “Zombieland” and MTV’s “Rob and Big,” as well as sketches on “Funny Or Die,” it’s safe to say Ruben Fleischer has a handle on dude-humor. This summer will see the release of his second feature film, “30 Minutes or Less,” which stars the ubiquitous Jesse Eisenberg as a hapless pizza delivery boy who gets tasked, against his will, with robbing a bank with a bomb strapped to his body. It’s a comedy, though. Really. Fleischer promises.

“It’s like a broader comedy version of a Coen Brothers movie,” he says. “To me, it’s like a commercial version of ‘Fargo’ — dumb people doing dumb things with bad results.”

Fleischer assembled a group of buzzworthy comedic talents — including “Eastbound and Down” star  Danny McBride, stand-up pro Nick Swardson and Aziz Ansari of “Parks and Recreation” — for the film. The director’s ear for a good laugh may be well-tuned, but he can’t put his finger on why the Apatowian buddy-comedy trend is so hot right now — or how he knows what’s funny at all.

“Aziz is just an inherently funny person, as are Danny and Nick and Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray [who both starred in ‘Zombieland’],” he explains of his stars. “They are funny people, and so I just want to put them in things and watch them be funny.”

But back to Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg, who is already notorious for playing the neurotic nerd, as he did most famously in “The Social Network” last year. Fleischer assures us that we’ll see a different side of the skittish actor in this film.

“That’s one of the things that he and I are most excited about,” Fleischer says. “[Here] he’s much more of a normal, average, everyday dude who has not lived up to his potential. I think it’s a little bit jarring for audiences to see Jesse being an underachiever and someone who is not neurotic. I think audiences will definitely relate to him and see him in a different light.”


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