30 Minutes or Less (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 14, 2011 by Dennis Amith
Plenty of action and improvised humor, “30 Minutes or Less” is an entertaining popcorn comedy/action film that may the beginning to more crazy sequels featuring actors Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari.
© 2011 MRC II Distribution Company L.P. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: 30 Minutes or Less
FILM RELEASE: 2011
DURATION: 83 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: R (Crude and Sexual Content, Pervasive Language, Nudity and Some Violence)
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Story by Michael Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan
Produced by Stuart Cornfeld, Jeremy Kramer, Ben Stiller
Executive Producer: Monica Levinson, Brian Levy
Associate Producer: Kit Giordano
Music by Ludwig Goransson
Cinematography by Jess Hall
Edited by Alan Baumgarten
Casting by Nicole Abellera, Jeanne McCarthy
Production Design by Maher Ahmad
Set Decoration by Gene Serdena
Costume Design by Christie Wittenborn
Jesse Eisenberg as Nick
Danny McBride as Dwayne
Aziz Ansari as Chet
Nick Swardson as Travis
Dilshad Vadsaria as Kate
Michael Pena as Chango
Bianca Kajlich as Juicy
Fred Ward as The Major
Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a small town pizza delivery guy whose mundane life collides with the big plans of two wanna-be criminal masterminds (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson). The volatile duo kidnaps Nick and forces him to rob a bank. With mere hours to pull off the impossible task, Nick enlists the help of his ex-best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari). As the clock ticks, the two must deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers, and their own tumultuous relationship.
From producer Ben Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld and Jeremy Kramer comes the 2011 film “30 Minutes or Less”.
A crazy action/comedy film directed by Ruben Fleischer (“Zombieland”) and a film which reunites the director with actor Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”,”Zombieland”, “Adventureland”) and features a screenplay from writers Michael Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan.
The film which was budgeted at $28 million, earned over $39 million in the box office and now, the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on Nov. 29th.
“30 Minutes or Less” is a film that showcases the friendship of two friends. One group of friends features a pizza delivery driver named Nick (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and his longtime friend, a school teacher named Chet (played by Aziz Ansari, “Parks & Recreation”, “Scrubs”).
Their relationship is tested when the two get into a heated argument when Chet finds out that Nick has slept with his twin sister Katie (played by Dilshad Vadsaria, “Greek”) and Nick finds out that Chet is responsible for getting his parents divorced. Because of their argument, the two friends decide to end their friendship.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to two other best friends, Dwayne (played by Danny McBride, “Pineapple Express”, “Up in the Air”, “Your Highness”) and Travis (played by Nick Swardson, “Just Go With It”, “Grandma’s Boy”, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”). Both guys love hanging out with each other, despite not holding any major jobs and because they are together so much, Dwayne’s father thinks they are gay.
But Dwayne hates his father, also known as “The Major” (played by Fred Ward, “The Right Stuff”, “The Player”, “Tremors”) and feels his father has been misspending his lottery winnings and because of their lack of a relationship, he wants his father dead in order to inherit the house and belongings. So, he thinks… what if his father died? Imagine how life would be much better for him financially and emotionally.
So, when Dwayne visits his favorite stripper named Juici (played by Bianca Kajlich, “Rules of Engagement”, “10 Things I Hate About You”, “Bring It On”) and talks about how his life would be much better if his father was dead, Juici tells him that she can make it happen. All she needs is $100,000 and she can make it happen, and if he does bring her that money, she will also perform sexual favors for him.
Of course, this is enough for Dwayne to say yes and now, Dwayne comes up with a plan along with his buddy Travis to find someone to get that $100,000 for them. All they need to do is control someone by strapping a bomb to him and make him rob a bank for $100,000.
And sure enough, they decide that the unfortunate person will be the pizza delivery guy, Nick. The two assault Nick, knock him out and the following morning when Nick wakes up, he learns that the two have strapped a bomb onto him.
Nick is given clear instructions and realizes, he can’t even remove the bomb because it is locked on to him (and the only way it can be removed is by a special code which will be given after he brings them $100,000 within the next ten hours). If he tells police about the bomb, they will blow it up. And they tell him that they will be monitoring him, so he has to be careful.
As the countdown begins, Nick begins to panic and the only person that he can tell about his predicament is his former best friend Chet. Nick pleads to Chet for his help and Chet, who is still upset, realizes the two have history and wouldn’t let Nick down, so he reluctantly decides to help his friend.
This leads the two to discuss how they are going to rob a bank and use the film “Point Blank” as a reference. So, the two decide to purchase supplies for the robbery and also steal a family friend’s car, so they can’t be tracked.
Now Nick and Chet must be able to pull off a bank heist or else, the bomb will be detonated. Will they succeed?
“30 Minutes or Less” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1) and picture quality is absolutely fantastic. You can see the details from the whiskers in Aziz’ beard to the details of Nick’s crappy old car, the skin pores of Bianca Kajlich’s nude body. A lot of fine details through the closeups and also, the film has some grain, skin tones are natural, some colorful scenes are vibrant (from the red car that Nick and Chet had stolen to the flames of a flamethrower) and black levels are nice and deep.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“30 Minutes or Less” is presented in English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital. The lossless soundtrack is actually quite solid for this comedy/action film. From the bass-driven hip hop tracks to the explosions, car crashes, gun shots, there are moments of really good immersive sound and good use of the surround channels. While the film is primarily dialogue, you do get a good amount of ambiance especially during the scenes with a lot of people (the bank scene), but the film does showcase quite a bit of music from hip-hop to the “Beverly Hills Cop” Glenn Frey song “The Heat is On”.
Overall, a pretty solid lossless soundtrack.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.
“30 Minutes or Less” comes with the following special features:
- Picture-in-Picture Video Commentary with Actors Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson and Director Ruben Fleischer – A fun picture-in-picture audio commentary discussing the improvisational scenes, shooting on location and information about their characters and challenges of shooting the film and more.
- Blowing Up with the Cast & Crew of 30 Minutes or Less – (14:08) The cast and crew talk about the improvisational moments of the film and the various talent involved in the film.
- The Perfect Crime: Action and Comedy in 30 Minutes Or Less (10:58) The cast and crew talk about the action and comedy of the film, behind-the-scenes footage and more.
- Deleted Scenes – (11:40) Featuring nine deleted scenes: Christopher Fires and Then Rehires Nick, Nick Wakes Up Late/Rear View Mirror, Dwayne and Travis Raid the Fridge, Dwayne’s Dream Sequence, Nick Throws-Up at Side of Road, Nick and Chet Leave School/Chet Calls in Excuse, Chango F&(@$ Juicy, Nick Chases Chet, Dwayne Finds Major Wounded, and Vito’s Commercial.
- Outtakes – (6:14) Featuring three improvisational outtakes – Travis Thinks the Major is Jacked, Chet Tells Nick Worse Ways To Die, Dwayne and Travis Talk Tanning Codes
- 30 Minutes or Less PS3 Theme/Wallpaper – If you have a Sony PlayStation 3, you can install a “30 Minutes or Less” theme.
Plenty of action and improvised humor, “30 Minutes or Less” is an entertaining popcorn comedy/action film!
One would wonder where Jesse Eisenberg’s career would go after the success of “The Social Network”, as some actors would tend to focus on deeper films. But I suppose you can say that Eisenberg has been an actor that has taken up roles where the protagonist is seen as awkward such as his role in “Adventureland” and “Zombieland”. But with “30 Minutes or Less”, it’s interesting to see him play a pizza delivery guy that has a bomb attached to him.
In some ways, partnering Eisenberg with the fun and hilarious Anziz Ansari is rather intriguing as well. Prior to watching the film, I was thinking..was this going to be another “Harold & Kumar” type of stoner comedy or was it going to be a something along the lines of a “Dude, Where’s My Car?” type of film. One thing I knew is that with Anziz Ansari and Nick Swardson being part of the film, there was going to be some interesting improvisational, crazy scenes.
I enjoyed “30 Minutes or Less” in the fact that it was straightforward comedy/action. One of those films that you don’t take seriously, you just sit down and enjoy! And see where the characters will take you, as they try to steal $100,000 and also try to remove the bomb attach to Nick’s body. What ensues is a lot of crazy twists and one wonders if there will be a sequel to this film, because I get a feeling that we have not seen the last of characters Nick and Chet.
The Blu-ray release of “30 Minutes or Less” comes with a good amount of special features, a hilarious commentary and also insight on the improvisational scenes. And keeping with the consistency of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, picture quality was fantastic and the lossless soundtrack was quite appropriate for this comedy/action film. While not overly immersive, there are good moments of surround sound use during the more action-driven scenes.
Overall, if you are looking for a comedy/action film that you just want to sit back and enjoy and not take too seriously, then “30 Minutes or Less” is a film for you!
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