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30 Minutes or Less

Columbia/Tri-Star // R // November 29, 2011
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted November 17, 2011 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Ruben Fleischer's latest film, 2011's 30 Minutes Or Less, follows the exploits of a pizza delivery guy named Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), a thirtysomething slacker who lives with his roommate and best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), substitute teacher who is not above having a beer or playing video games with his pal. One night their relationship suffers a bit when Nick confesses to sleeping with Chet's foxy sister, Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria) and Chet tells Nick that he knew all along his mom was banging the lifeguard but never bothered to tell him. They scuffle, but the next morning both of them head off to work and it's while he's delivering a pizza that Nick runs into real trouble in the form of Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson). See, Dwayne and Travis need to come up with a hundred grand so that they can pay an assassin (Michael Peña) hired by Dwayne's favorite stripper (Bianca Kajlich) to knock off Dwayne's old man (Fred Phelps). Turns out Dwayne's daddy won the lottery and his only son intends to have him killed before he can spend it all so that he'll be able to use his inheritance to open up his dream business, a tanning salon that's actually a front for a prostitution racket.

But let's get back to Nick - out on delivery and soon at gun point! Dwayne and Travis call for a pie and when poor Nick shows up, they slap a bomb vest on him and tell him he's got to get them the money within ten hours or they're going to blow him up. Figuring that the best way to do this would be to rob a bank, Nick drives his beat up old 80s model Mustang to the local elementary school to talk Chet into helping him do just that, before time runs out and Nick blows up.

30 Minutes Or Less is a fun movie on a surface level. It's not chock full of surprises, it's not full of deep meaning and it won't make you think for more than a second or two but it does manage to entertain for eighty-eight minutes in spite of the fact that it's vapid and predictable. The main reason the movie is as watchable as it is, well, that'd be Danny McBride and Nick Swardson as the bad guys. They seem to be having a good time playing these inept schemers, constantly put down by Dwayne's dad, well played by veteran actor Fred Phelps, and while they don't really flesh out their characters at all, they don't really need to either. Eisenberg and Ansari have a pretty decent on screen relationship here as well, and they make for likeable enough, if completely unlikely 'heroes' (albeit not in the traditional sense). Both duos play off of one another rather well and it's occasionally interesting to note the parallels in their relationships - but let's not read too much into this.

The film has some decent action scenes in it, though not surprisingly they're played for laughs more than for thrills and a few references to action movies that were obviously an influence in some way - such as Die Hard, the Lethal Weapon films and most importantly the mighty Point Break, which Nick and Chet use as their blueprint for how to successfully pull off a bank robbery. The love interest angle that exists between Nick and Kate doesn't really add up to much and feels kind of crammed into the story, but overall this movie delivers pretty much all that you'd want out of it: some good laughs, a few decent action scenes, a couple of memorable quotes, a couple of pretty girls, a surprisingly surly Fred Phelps and best of all a dopey guy brandishing a flamethrower.

The Blu-ray:


30 Minutes Or Less looks great in this AVC encoded 2.40.1 widescreen 1080p high definition transfer from Sony. Detail is crisp and sharp throughout and skin tones are nice and natural through. Colors are handled well as are black levels and there are no problems with crush, those blacks stay inky deep throughout the film. There are no problems with edge enhancement, mpeg compression artifacts or nasty noise reduction and overall the image is very pleasing in terms of detail and texture and offers up a very solid picture overall. Close up shots are reference quality, showing great facial detail and texture in clothing and on hair, while medium and long distance shots show off the grit and grime in the various locations used throughout the movie. There are no problems with print damage dirt and debris and what we wind up with is a very strong transfer in deed.


Lossless audio options are provided in an English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix and a French dubbed track, also in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. Subtitles are also offered in the English, English SDH, French and Spanish. As far as the quality of the DTS-HD track goes, it's pretty excellent overall, particularly during the action scenes or during the scenes where things explode. You'll notice it plenty of surround activity present throughout the mix, from the visit to the strip club where the music is spread around nicely to the fight that happens outside of town near the bridge. Bass response is strong throughout the movie, especially when the score kicks in, while dialogue stays clean, clear and properly balanced throughout the film.


The most substantial extra on the disc is the picture in picture commentary track lead by Director Ruben Fleischer who is joined by cast members Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson. As you would probably expect, these guys have fun with the material and have some pretty funny moments here. They do a good job of sharing some stories about what it was like shooting the film in Michigan, expand on what they liked about their characters, discuss bits and pieces that didn't make it into the final cut of the movie and discuss the importance of improvisation during the shoot.

Also included on the disc are two featurettes, the first of which is Blowing Up With The Cast And Crew Of 30 Minutes Or Less (14:08) which is basically just a collection of cast and crew interviews in which all involved pat themselves on the back and talk about how funny everyone who worked on the movie is. It's fairly superficial but it's moderately amusing - if you dug the feature, you might enjoy it. The second featurette is The Perfect Crime: Action And Comedy In 30 Minutes Or Less (10:58) and it takes a look at how some of the more action intensive scenes in the film were shot and how the movie mixes those action scenes with its comedic elements. Lots of cast and crew interviews in here and some decent behind the scenes footage give it more substance than the first featurette.

Sony have also included 11:40 worth of Deleted Scenes that include some extra bits where Christopher fires Nick, some more bits with Dwayne and Travis, a funny Dream Sequence involving Dwayne and more. Rounding out the extras are six minutes of outtakes, trailers for a few unrelated Sony titles, animated menus and chapter stops. The disc is also Blu-ray Live enabled, so you can go online and dig up more stuff if you so please. All of the extras on the disc are presented in high definition.

Final Thoughts:

Crew Of 30 Minutes Or Less doesn't reinvent the wheel but it's a fun time killer even if it isn't something you're probably going to want to go back to time and time again. Sony's Blu-ray looks and sounds great and contains a few extras of note, making it a fine release for those who know they already want to own the movie and a decent rental for the undecided.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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