Monday, 23 January 2012

30 Minutes or Less (2011)

30 Minutes or Less is a 2011 American action comedy crime film directed by Ruben Fleischer starring Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson. It is produced by Columbia Pictures and funded by Media Rights Capital.
The Plot

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a slacking pizza delivery driver who has trouble completing the "30 Minutes or Less" policy that his employers issue, leading to a reprimand from his boss (Brett Gelman). Nick's friend Chet (Aziz Ansari), a school teacher, discovers that Nick has slept with, and still has feelings for, Chet's twin sister Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria). It is also revealed that Chet was the reason Nick's parents divorced. After a heated argument, the two end their friendship.

Meanwhile, two delinquents, Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) are miserable living under the shadow of Dwayne's domineering father (Fred Ward). Dwayne confides in a stripper, Juicy (Bianca Kajlich), about his contempt for his dad, who is squandering the money that he won playing the lottery. Juicy says she can hire an assassin to kill Dwayne's dad for $100,000 so Dwayne can collect the inheritance. Dwayne plots that they kidnap a complete stranger and force him to rob a bank for the hit money by strapping a bomb to his chest. After seeing an advertisement for the pizzeria that Nick works at, they order a pizza and wait for the driver to come to their hideout. When Nick arrives, Dwayne and Travis assault him and knock him unconscious.

When Nick wakes up, he finds a vest rigged with explosives strapped and buckled onto his torso. Dwayne and Travis tell him his situation: if he does not rob a bank in ten hours, they will detonate the bomb. Going to the police will also result in them detonating the bomb, as they will be monitoring him. Nick, in his panic, goes to a school where Chet is working and desperately pleads with him to help. After plans to deactivate or remove the bomb are dashed, Chet says he has no choice but to rob the bank. Still uneasy, Nick asks Chet to assist him. Chet reluctantly agrees.

After purchasing supplies for the robbery, Nick suggests stealing Chet's family friend's car so that the police will be unable to track the license plate number of Nick's own car. Nick then stops by his workplace to tell off his boss and to go see Kate and say some final words to her. When Nick come to his work, Nick quits his job and says 'Fuck You' to his boss and his boss repeat the 'Fuck You' words. Nick and Chet later arrive at the bank, hold it up, and obtain the money. However, an employee pulls the alarm, forcing Nick and Chet to flee. After a car chase that ends up with Nick and Chet crashing their car, the two successfully evade capture by sneaking onto a bus. Nick calls Dwayne and tells him he has the money. Dwayne says he and Travis will meet him at an abandoned railyard to make the exchange. Dwayne and Travis go to a restaurant instead. When Dwayne asks Travis to possibly be the one to detonate the bomb if the time comes, Travis starts to become unsettled.

After getting his old car, Nick waits for Dwayne and Travis at the railyard while Chet hides somewhere to avoid a confrontation about his involvement in the scheme. Instead of Dwayne or Travis, however, Juicy and the assassin, Chongo (Michael Peña), are the ones who arrive to pick up the money. Nick hands Chongo the money and expects Chongo to give him the code which will deactivate the bomb. Chongo claims he doesn't know what the code is. When Nick keeps asking him for the code, Chongo gets aggravated and holds Nick at gunpoint. Chet runs in and beats Chongo while Nick incapacitates Juicy. The two grab the money and escape.

Dwayne ends up getting two phone calls: one from Chongo calling to let Dwayne know that because of Chet's ambush, he will be killing Dwayne also. The second is from Nick, who berates Dwayne for not giving Chongo the code to the bomb and dares him to detonate the bomb with the money at his side. Overly frustrated by these turn of events, Dwayne activates the speed dial number on his phone for the bomb to explode, but finds that Travis altered the numbers while Dwayne wasn't looking because he was getting nervous about Dwayne's gradually violent attitude. The two head back to Kate's apartment and kidnap her. Dwayne calls Nick to let him know that he has Kate and if he doesn't meet at the scrapyard to give him the money, he will kill her. Meanwhile, Chongo breaks into Dwayne's dad's house to find information regarding Dwayne's location and finds a hand-drawn map to the scrapyard. While there, Dwayne's father attacks him and is shot after a struggle.

Nick arrives at the scrapyard and exchanges the money for Kate. Dwayne gives Nick the code to deactivate and unbuckle the bomb with minutes to spare. Dwayne then tells Nick to walk away, but Nick deduces that as soon as Nick and Kate turn around, they will just kill them both. Dwayne confirms this by pointing a gun at them while Travis comes out wielding a flamethrower. Nick says he hired a sniper in case this were to happen. This is proved to be fake as it is only Chet who's using a laser pointer, but it's enough to fool Dwayne and Travis into lowering their weapons. Chongo arrives shortly after to kill Dwayne. Travis responds by torching Chongo with the flamethrower. Although burning to death, Chongo manages to shoot Dwayne and shoot the fuel tank for the flamethrower, causing it to explode on Travis's back. In the confusion, Nick grabs the money and drives away with Chet and Kate. Dwayne, still alive, reconciles with Travis then catches up to the others with his van, but he hears a beeping sound in the back, and the van explodes. Nick reveals that as he grabbed the money, he reactivated the bomb and threw it in the back of the van. Now free with the money in their possession, the three drive off discussing what to do with their newly acquired windfall, but discover that the money has been rigged with dye, rendering it useless.

After the credits roll, Dwayne and his father had survived and Dwayne had started his tanning salon business.


The humor comes very rapidly, and each joke, hit or miss, doesn't linger long before the next one comes along. Your own particular sense of humor will largely decide how much you enjoy 30 Minutes or Less, as most of the entertainment comes from the silly, rapid-fire banter between the two protagonist characters and also that between their two bomb-making nemeses. 

The Cast
Jesse Eisenberg as Nick Davis
Danny McBride as Dwayne King
Aziz Ansari as Chet Flanning
Nick Swardson as Travis Cord
Michael Peña as Chongo
Fred Ward as The Major, Dwayne's father
Dilshad Vadsaria as Kate Flanning, Chet's twin sister
Mya Rajah as Amelia
Bianca Kajlich as Juicy
Brett Gelman as Chris, Nick's Boss

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