30 Minutes or Less

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30 Minutes or Less
30 Minutes or Less Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Produced by Stuart Cornfeld
Ben Stiller
Jeremy Kramer
Screenplay by Michael Diliberti
Story by Michael Diliberti
Matthew Sullivan
Starring Jesse Eisenberg
Danny McBride
Aziz Ansari
Nick Swardson
Michael Pena
Fred Ward
Music by Ludwig Göransson
Cinematography Jess Hall
Edited by Alan Baumgarten
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • August 12, 2011 (2011-08-12)
Running time
83 minutes
Country United States[1][2]
Language English
Budget $28 million[3][4]
Box office $40.5 million[4]

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. It is produced by Columbia Pictures and funded by Media Rights Capital.


Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a marijuana-smoking, slacker pizza delivery driver in Grand Rapids who has trouble completing the "30 Minutes Or Less" policy that his employer issues, leading to a reprimand from his boss Chris (Brett Gelman). Nick's school teacher friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) discovers that Nick has slept with Chet's twin sister, Kate, (Dilshad Vadsaria) on the night of their high school graduation and that he still harbors feelings for her. After a heated argument, Nick storms out, ending their friendship.

Dwayne King (Danny McBride) and Travis Cord (Nick Swardson), are miserable living under the shadow of Dwayne's domineering father the Major (Fred Ward), a multimillion-dollar lottery winner. Dwayne confides in lap-dancer Juicy (Bianca Kajlich) about his contempt for his father and Dwayne's presumed inheritance. Juicy tells him she knows a hit-man who will kill Dwayne's dad for $100,000. At Travis's suggestion, he and Dwayne devise a plot to kidnap a complete stranger and strap a remote-controlled bomb to his chest, to compel him to rob a bank for them for the hit money Dwayne needs. After seeing an advertisement for the pizzeria that Nick works at, they order a pizza and wait for a driver to come to their hideout. When Nick arrives, Dwayne and Travis (who are wearing a gorilla and monkey mask) assault him and Travis chloroforms Nick.

When Nick wakes up, he finds a vest rigged with explosives strapped and buckled onto his torso, with both a timer and a cellular phone-activated trigger. Disguised, Dwayne and Travis tell him his situation: if he does not rob a bank within 10 hours, the bomb will detonate. For effect, Dwayne demonstrate another bomb blowing up a stuffed Teddy bear. Dwayne states that if Nick dares going to the police, they will remotely detonate the bomb, as they will be monitoring him. In his panic, Nick 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.

En route to the bank, Nick stops by his workplace to tell off his boss and quit, then goes to see Kate and say some potential final words to her. Nick and Chet hold up the bank and obtain money while the bank manager pulled the alarm, forcing Nick and Chet to flee quickly as Dwayne and Travis, outside, watch the commotion. A police officer arrives, but when Nick shows him the bomb vest, he runs away. Nick calls Dwayne and tells him he has the money. Dwayne says he and Travis will meet him at an abandoned rail-yard to make the exchange. Dwayne and Travis go to a restaurant instead as Dwayne calls up Juicy to get her hit-man ally and to head to the rail-yard. When Dwayne asks Travis to be the one to detonate the bomb if the time comes, Travis starts to become unsettled.

Nick waits for Dwayne and Travis at the railyard while Chet hides nearby to avoid disclosing his involvement in the scheme. Juicy and the hit-man Chango (Michael Peña) arrive to pick up the money. Nick hands Chango the money and expects Chango to give him the code which will deactivate the bomb. When Nick keeps asking him for the code, Chango gets aggravated and holds Nick at gunpoint. Chet appears and strikes Chango with a metal bar while Nick incapacitates Juicy. The two grab the money and escape.

Dwayne gets a call from Nick who berates Dwayne for not giving Chango the code to the bomb, and dares him to detonate the bomb with the money at his side. Nick tells Chet that this is a tactic for when the third call is made to them, the details to leave the money and the codes will be made. Overly frustrated by the turn of events and when Nick doesn't answer the phone again, Dwayne activates the speed dial number on his phone for the bomb to explode, but Travis altered the numbers while Dwayne wasn't looking because he was getting nervous about Dwayne's gradually violent attitude. When Dwayne thinks that Nick is calling him, it is instead Chango who informs him about what had happened during the exchange. Chango states that the deal is off and that he'll be coming after Dwayne next. Rethinking their plan, the two head to Kate's apartment in their masks and kidnap her while she was in the restroom. Chango breaks into the Major's house to find information regarding Dwayne's location and finds a hand-drawn map to the scrapyard. While there, the Major attacks him with a pen gun as Chango asks why he is protecting Dwayne if he is the one that called the hit. The Major is then shot in the stomach by Chango after a struggle. Upon applying some peroxide, Chango uses the information he found in Dwayne's room to head to the scrapyard. 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.

Nick arrives at the scrapyard and exchanges the money for Kate. Dwayne gives Nick the code (which is Dwayne's favorite sexual position: 69 69 69) 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. Dwayne and Travis believe him and drop their weapons and leave with the money. However, Nick is brutally knocked out by Chango who now has Dwayne at gunpoint, demanding for the money. Dwayne gives him the money but Chango decides to still kill him. Travis, who has a flamethrower, torches Chango. While being burned on the ground, Chango shoots Dwayne in the shoulder and shoots the gas tank on Travis's back and it explodes.

Nick takes the money and leaves with Kate and Chet. Dwayne saves Travis by beating the fire of the exploded gas tank with his shirt. Dwayne gets in his van to chase after Nick and steal the money and when he has Nick at gunpoint just as his van explodes, seemingly killing him. Nick reveals he reactivated the bomb and put it in Dwayne's van. Afterwards the trio talk about what they'll do with their money but it squirts blue dye on Chet's face.

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

Alternate ending[edit]

In the alternate ending, Nick, Chet and Kate drive off with the money and discuss what they will do with their new-found riches. Meanwhile, just miles behind them, Dwayne is revealed to have survived the explosion that occurred moments earlier. Annoyed with his plan's failure, he goes to his father's mansion to see if Chango successfully killed him. Dwayne finds his dad on the floor suffering from his gunshot wound and tells about his plans for the tanning salon/brothel. 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 up with Nick and Chet, who are chilling out by the pool enjoying their new lives. In addition to this, the late Chango has been blamed for the bank robbery, so all is well.


  • Jesse Eisenberg as Nick Davis
  • Danny McBride as Dwayne "King Dwayne" Mikowlski
  • Aziz Ansari as Chet Flanning
  • 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.


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.[5] The film's screenplay was written by Matthew Sullivan and Michael Diliberti,[6] and the film was produced by Ben Stiller, through his production company, Red Hour Films.[7][8] The film was released on August 12, 2011.[9][10][11]


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.[12]



Critical response[edit]

30 Minutes or Less has received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 44% based on reviews from 159 critics, with a rating average of 5.4 out of 10. The site's consensus is, "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".[13]

Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 49% based on 37 reviews.[14]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed an estimated $13 million in its first weekend, below studio expectations.[15] The film went on to earn a worldwide total of $40,547,440.[4]

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

Similarity to real-life events[edit]

The plot of the film bears a striking resemblance to a real-life bank heist gone wrong.[17]

  • On August 28, 2003, pizza delivery man Brian Douglas Wells entered a bank in Erie, Pennsylvania, with a bomb strapped to his neck.[18] As police approached Wells, the bomb detonated, killing him. Wells had similar motives and was surrounded with people who strongly resemble characters depicted in the motion picture.[17]

Despite the similarities to the case, the cast and filmmakers claimed to have had no prior knowledge of the incident, although the screenwriters have admitted to being "vaguely aware" of it for legal purposes.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "30 Minutes or Less (2011)". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ "30 Minutes or Less (2011)". British Film Institute. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ Kaufman, Amy (August 11, 2011). "Movie Projector: 'Apes' likely to swing higher than 'The Help'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=30minutesorless.htm
  5. ^ "Ludington's James St. Old Kent Bank to Be Setting for Upcoming Ben Stiller Produced Film". Ludington Daily News. August 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Aziz Ansari cast in Ruben Fleischer's 30 Minutes or Less film inspired by real events". /Film. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  7. ^ "30 Minutes or Less (2011) – ComingSoon.net"
  8. ^ "Ben Stiller-produced movie". Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  9. ^ "Fred Ward joins 30 Minutes or Less". InsideMovies.com. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  10. ^ "MovieWeb – 30 Minutes or Less"
  11. ^ "Fred Ward to play a dad again in 30 Minutes or Less". Hollywood.com. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  12. ^ "Free Tickets to the 30 MINUTES OR LESS Comic-Con Screening Featuring Q&A With Ansari, Swardson, Pena and Fleischer". Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  13. ^ "30 Minutes or Less (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ "30 Minutes or Less Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Weekend Report: 'Apes' Cling to Top Spot, 'Help' Cleans Up". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  16. ^ "30 Minutes or Less | UK Cinema Release Date". 
  17. ^ a b Watercutter, Angela (August 12, 2011). "Compare and Contrast: 30 Minutes or Less vs. Collar-Bomb Caper". Wired. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  18. ^ Schapiro, Richard (December 27, 2010). "The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist". Wired. Archived from the original on June 27, 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  19. ^ Emami, Gazelle (August 7, 2011). "'30 Minutes Or Less': Pizza Bomber Movie Too Close To Home For Family Of Real Pizza Bomber Tragedy". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 

External links[edit]