Film Festival Today

Founded by Jeremy Taylor

Film Review: “30 Minutes Or Less”

Written by: FFT Webmaster | August 8th, 2011

Aziz Ansari is the newest member of the scene-stealing best friend fraternity. Ansari and Eisenberg are this year’s buddy franchise duo. Fred Ward’s breakout role.

Remember the 2007 bizarre case of pizza delivery man Brian Douglas Wells who was killed by a time bomb fastened to his neck, purportedly under coercion from the maker of the bomb? After he was apprehended by the police for robbing a bank, the bomb exploded.

Prosecutors alleged that Wells had been involved in the planning of the botched crime. Two of his conspirators were indicted on bank robbery, conspiracy, and weapons charges. Kenneth Barnes pleaded guilty and confirmed that Wells was indeed involved in planning the robbery but revealed Wells was under the impression an actual bomb would not be used. Barnes was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison. (Photo of Brian Wells with bomb)

30 MINUTES OR LESS is the story of Wells and Barnes, sort of.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) delivers pizzas for a living, trying without much success to deliver the pizza in 30 minutes or less or it’s free. That means no tipping either. His East Indian best friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) lords it over him that he has a job as a substitute teacher. Nick’s fantasy soul mate is Chet’s twin sister Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria).

Meanwhile, bitter loser Dwayne (Danny McBride) wants to kill his father, The Major (Fred Ward) who won a ten million dollar lottery and hates his over-35 slacker son. Dwayne needs $100,000 for a hitman. How does someone find a hitman? Go on Craigslist or Dwayne has a better idea since he doesn’t have a computer. Go to a strip club and ask a stripper!  Juicy (Bianca Kajlich) has the perfect boyfriend/pimp/hitman for the job, Chango (Michael Pena).

Dwayne enlists his half-wit sidekick Travis (Nick Swardson), who happens to be a bomb-making savant, to help him kidnap someone and strap a home-made happy-face terrorist vest to his chest and force him to rob a bank. But the guy has to come to them. Of course, nothing says come-to-daddy like a home delivery pizza boy.

Nick is given a generous 10 hours to plot the bank robbery. So Nick goes off to Chet’s high school to recruit him as his wing-man and future co-defendant. Someone in the audience yelled out, “Chet, just call the cops.” Well, that is the defining fault in the screenplay.

Instead, Chet goes along with the scheme because they have “history” and Nick deflowered Kate on Prom Night ten years ago. They commit several crimes and buy bank robbery supplies as Dwayne and Travis tail them.

Aziz Ansari

The relationship between Nick and Chet is quite funny and silly. Eisenberg needs to do ZOMBIELAND 2. McBride, for some unfathomable reason, may not be doing a third season of his outrageous HBO series “Eastbound & Down”. He has co-starred in some funny movies (SUPERBAD, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and TROPIC THUNDER) but can we forget the terrible LAND OF THE LOST and YOUR HIGHNESS? Like Will Ferrell, McBride needs to develop another career path – he’s getting too old to play a directionless slob who lives with his grandma.

As far as walking off with the movie in a few scenes, Fred Ward is terrific. This is like his breakout role. And who takes credit for casting Bianca Kajlich as a “veteran” stripper and Michael Pena for making their supporting characters so memorable? At a face-paced 83 minutes, 30 MINUTES OR LESS  is not for the CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE audience but at least there are no multiple poop scenes like the ones that dominate THE CHANGE UP.

Member of Broadcast Film Critics Association:
Member of the Las Vegas Film Critics Society:
My weekly column, “The Devil’s Hammer,” is posted every Monday.
If you would like to be included on my private distribution list for a weekly preview, just email me at
Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email. You can contact Victoria directly at

Other posts by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *