30 Minutes or Less

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 was produced by Columbia Pictures and funded by Media Rights Capital. The film was released on August 12, 2011.

30 Minutes or Less
30 Minutes or Less Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRuben Fleischer
Produced byStuart Cornfeld
Ben Stiller
Jeremy Kramer
Screenplay byMichael Diliberti
Story byMichael Diliberti
Matthew Sullivan
StarringJesse Eisenberg
Danny McBride
Aziz Ansari
Nick Swardson
Michael Peña
Bianca Kajlich
Fred Ward
Music byLudwig Göransson
CinematographyJess Hall
Edited byAlan Baumgarten
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • August 12, 2011 (2011-08-12)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States[1][2]
Budget$28 million[3][4]
Box office$40.5 million[4]


Grand Rapids slacker Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) works as a pizza delivery driver, but has trouble completing the "30 Minutes or Less" policy and is reprimanded by his boss. Nick's school teacher friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) discovers that Nick slept with his twin sister, Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria), on the night of their high school graduation, causing Nick and Chet to end their friendship. Separately, Dwayne Mikowlski (Danny McBride) and Travis Cord (Nick Swardson) are miserable living under the shadow of Dwayne's domineering father, The Major (Fred Ward), who about 10 years prior won over $10 million in the lottery. Dwayne confides in lap-dancer Juicy (Bianca Kajlich) about his contempt for his father and his presumed inheritance. At Travis's suggestion, he and Dwayne devise a plot to kidnap a complete stranger and strap a remote-controlled bomb to his chest. They order a pizza and wait for a 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, with both a timer and a cellular phone-activated trigger. Dwayne and Travis tell him his situation: the bomb will detonate unless he robs a bank within ten hours. They also threaten to detonate the bomb if Nick notifies the police. He goes to Chet's school and alerts him of the situation, and he reluctantly agrees to help Nick rob a bank. En route to the bank, Nick manages to quit his job and then goes to see Kate for the last time. Nick and Chet hold up the bank and obtain money while the bank manager pulls the alarm, forcing Nick and Chet to flee quickly. Dwayne says he and Travis will meet Nick 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. 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. However, Chet appears and strikes Chango with a metal bar while Nick incapacitates Juicy. The two grab the money and escape.

Overly frustrated by the turn of events and when Nick refuses to answer the phone again, Dwayne activates the speed dial number on his phone for the bomb to explode, but Travis alters the numbers. Rethinking their plan, he and Dwayne head to Kate's apartment in their masks and kidnap her. 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. The Major is then shot 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 threatens to kill Kate unless Nick meets up with him at the scrapyard.

At the scrapyard, Dwayne gives Nick the code 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. After believing him, Dwayne and Travis drop their weapons and leave with the money. However, Nick is knocked out by Chango who now has Dwayne at gunpoint, demanding the money. Dwayne gives him the money but Chango decides to still kill him and is torched with a flamethrower by Travis. While being burned on the ground, Chango wounds Dwayne and shoots the gas tank on Travis's back, causing it to explode. Nick takes the money and leaves with Kate and Chet. Dwayne chases after Nick and steals the money and when he has Nick at gunpoint as he’s about shoot at him the bomb hits 00:00:00 his van explodes, seemingly killing him. Nick reveals he reactivated the bomb and put it in Dwayne's van. While Chet looks at the money, it squirts blue dye on his face. In a post-credits scene, Dwayne (who survived the explosion), Travis, the Major recuperating in a wheelchair, and Juicy are seen in an advertisement for their new family business called "Major Tan: Tanning Salon".

Alternate endingEdit

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.


  • Jesse Eisenberg as Nick Davis
  • Danny McBride as Dwayne "King Dwayne" Mikowlski
  • Aziz Ansari as Chet Flanning (Douglas Subramaniam)
  • 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 responseEdit

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 44% based on 162 reviews, with an average rating of 5.42/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "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] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews gives the film a score of 49 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14]

Box officeEdit

The film grossed $13.3 million in its opening weekend, below studio expectations.[15] The film went on to earn a worldwide total of $40.5 million.[4]

Home mediaEdit

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 death of Brian WellsEdit

The plot of the film bears a resemblance to a real-life bank robbery gone wrong that resulted in the death of Brian Wells in 2003.[17] As with the film, Wells was a pizza delivery man who was forced to wear a bomb and then robbed a bank under orders from the plot's mastermind in an effort to have the bomb defused.[18] Additionally, an investigation found that the motive behind the robbery was for Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, the convicted mastermind, to use the stolen money to hire a hitman to kill her father and receive her inheritance, also like the film.[17] Unlike the film, however, Wells was killed by the bomb after being caught by the police.

Despite the similarities to the case, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group said the filmmakers and cast had no prior knowledge of the incident, while the screenwriters were "vaguely familiar" with it. Nevertheless, the film drew criticism from Jean Heid, Wells' sister, and Jerry Clark, a former FBI agent who witnessed Wells' death and led the case's investigation.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "30 Minutes or Less (2011)". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  2. ^ "30 Minutes or Less (2011)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on September 27, 2015. 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 "30 Minutes or Less (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  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" Archived October 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. /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. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  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 30, 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. Archived from the original on September 25, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011.

External linksEdit