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30 Minutes or Less is a 2011 American action comedy film directed by Ruben Fleischer, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari and Nick Swardson. Loosely inspired by a similar true event, the plot follows a stoner pizza delivery boy who is forced into wearing a bomb in order to rob a bank.

It was produced by Columbia Pictures and funded by Media Rights Capital. The film was released on August 12, 2011, received mixed reviews from critics, and grossed $40 million against its $28 million budget.

Plot

Grand Rapids slacker Nick works as a pizza delivery driver, rarely completes the "30 Minutes or Less" policy and is reprimanded by his boss. Nick's school teacher friend Chet discovers that Nick slept with his twin sister, Kate, on their high school graduation night, causing Chet to end their friendship.

Buddies Dwayne Mikowlski and Travis Cord are miserable, living under the shadow of Dwayne's domineering father, Jerry "The Major", who won over $10 million in the lottery about 10 years prior. Dwayne confides in lap-dancer Juicy about his contempt for his father and his presumed inheritance.

They devise a plot to kidnap a complete stranger, to strap a bomb to his chest, and get him to get them hitman money. They order a pizza and wait for a driver to come to their hideout. When Nick arrives, Dwayne and Travis assault him and knock him unconscious.

When Nick awakes, he is in a vest rigged with explosives, with both a timer and phone-activated detonators. The bomb will explode unless he gets them $100,000 within ten hours, and they also threaten to detonate the bomb if Nick notifies the police. Nick finds Chet, alerts him of the situation, and he reluctantly agrees to help Nick rob a bank. En route, Nick quits his job and then goes to say goodbye to Kate.

Nick and Chet hold up the bank and flee quickly. Dwayne says he and Travis will meet Nick at an abandoned rail yard to make the exchange, but go to a restaurant. Instead, Dwayne calls Juicy to get the hit-man to go. Juicy and the hit man Chango arrive to pick up the money, but do not have the bomb deactivation code. Chet appears and knocks out Chango with a metal bar while Nick incapacitates Juicy. The two grab the money and escape.

Frustrated by the turn of events when Nick refuses to answer the phone again, Dwayne activates the speed dial number on his phone for the bomb to explode, but Travis had altered the number. Rethinking their plan, he and Dwayne head to Kate's apartment in their masks and kidnap her. Chango breaks into the Major's house to find information regarding Dwayne's location and finds a hand-drawn map to the scrapyard. The Major attacks him with a pen gun, but is then shot by Chango after a struggle. Chango then heads to the scrapyard. Dwayne threatens to kill Kate unless Nick meets up with him at the scrapyard.

At the scrapyard, Dwayne gives Nick the code to deactivate and unbuckle the bomb with just minutes to spare. Dwayne has them at gunpoint but Nick has Chet fake having a sniper on them by pointing with his laser pointer. Believing him, Dwayne and Travis drop their weapons and Nick starts to leave with the money. However, Chango knocks him out, then has Dwayne at gunpoint, demanding the money. Dwayne gives the money to him, but Chango decides to still kill him and is torched with a flamethrower by Travis. While burning on the ground, Chango wounds Dwayne and shoots the gas tank on Travis's back, causing it to explode.

Nick grabs the money and leaves with Kate and Chet. Dwayne chases after them and when he is about to shoot Nick, the bomb explodes, seemingly killing him. (Nick reveals he reactivated the bomb and put it in Dwayne's van.) While Chet looks at the money, a blue dye pack explodes in his face.

In a post-credits scene, Dwayne (who survived the explosion), Travis, the Major recuperating in a wheelchair, and Juicy are seen in an advertisement for their new family business called "Major Tan: Tanning Salon".

Alternate ending

In the alternate ending, Nick, Chet and Kate drive off with the money, discussing what they will do with their newly-gained riches. Meanwhile, Dwayne survives the explosion. Annoyed with his plan's failure, he goes to see if Chango successfully killed his father. Dwayne finds his dad on the floor suffering from his gunshot wound and tells him about the tanning salon/brothel idea. His father is excited and tells his son that he is proud of him.

The final scene is at the Four Seasons in Atlanta, where Kate is managing the special events program. She joins Nick and Chet, who are chilling out by the pool enjoying their new lives. The late Chango has been blamed for the bank robbery.

Cast

  • Jesse Eisenberg as Nick Davis
  • Danny McBride as Dwayne "King Dwayne" Mikowlski
  • Aziz Ansari as Chet Flanning (Douglas Subramaniam)
  • Nick Swardson as Travis Cord
  • Dilshad Vadsaria as Kate Flanning, Chet's sister
  • Michael Peña as Chango, a hit-man that is an associate of Juicy.
  • Bianca Kajlich as Juicy, a lap dancer that Dwayne befriends.
  • Fred Ward as Jerry "The Major" Mikowlski, Dwayne's dad.
  • Brett Gelman as Chris, Nick's boss at a pizza restaurant.
  • Rebecca Cox as Sandra, a bank employee.
  • Rick Irwin as Mark the Bank Manager
  • Torey Adkins as Big Guy, the customer who gets shot in the leg during the robbery.

Production

Filming took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from July to September 2010, and a bank robbery scene was filmed at the vacant Ludington State Bank building—most recently a Fifth Third Bank—on James St. in Ludington, Michigan. The film's screenplay was written by Matthew Sullivan and Michael Diliberti, and the film was produced by Ben Stiller, through his production company, Red Hour Films. The film was released on August 12, 2011.

Promotion

A screening of the film took place at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con with actors Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Michael Peña and director Ruben Fleischer.

Soundtrack

  • The Hives – "Tick Tick Boom"
  • Beastie Boys – "Sure Shot"
  • Generationals – "I Promise"
  • Glenn Frey – "The Heat Is On"
  • Band of Horses – "Laredo"
  • Kid Cudi – "Is There Any Love?"
  • M.O.P. – "Ante Up"
  • Third Eye Blind – "Jumper", referenced multiple times throughout the film.
  • Ol' Dirty Bastard featuring Kelis – "Got Your Money"

Reception

Critical response

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 44% based on 162 reviews, with an average rating of 5.42/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It's sporadically funny and it benefits from a talented cast, but 30 Minutes or Less suffers from a disjointed narrative, and too often mistakes crude gags for true lowbrow humor." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews gives the film a score of 49 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

Box office

The film grossed $13.3 million in its opening weekend, 30 Minutes or Less was released alongside Final Destination 5 & Glee: The 3D Concert Movie. below studio expectations. The film went on to earn a worldwide total of $40.5 million.

Home media

It was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on November 29, 2011. It was released on September 16, 2011 in the United Kingdom.

Similarity to death of Brian Wells

The plot of the film bears a resemblance to a real-life bank robbery gone wrong that resulted in the death of Brian Wells in 2003. As with the film, Wells was a pizza delivery man who was forced to wear a bomb and then robbed a bank under orders from the plot's mastermind in an effort to have the bomb defused. Additionally, an investigation found that the motive behind the robbery was for Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, the convicted mastermind, to use the stolen money to hire a hitman to kill her father and receive her inheritance, also like the film. Unlike the film, however, Wells was killed by the bomb after being caught by the police.

Despite the similarities to the case, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group said the filmmakers and cast had no prior knowledge of the incident, while the screenwriters were "vaguely familiar" with it. Nevertheless, the film drew criticism from Jean Heid, Wells' sister, and Jerry Clark, a former FBI agent who witnessed Wells' death and led the case's investigation.

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