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30 Minutes or Less (Blu-ray Review)

I was a little apprehensive about going in and reviewing the Blu-ray of 30 Minutes or Less, because I never cared for the trailer or marketing materials that were released for it. It looked like a try-hard comedy film. Hey, but you gotta do what you gotta do when reviewing films, right? That’s what I did. I settled down, popped in the Blu-ray and hoped that the sights and sounds would take me away to this magical world of laughs and hijinx. It also helped that the guy who directed Zombieland also directed 30 Minutes of Less. Let us now see if this flick was worth the grueling one hour and twenty three minute running time. Strap yourself in! 

Film 

Almost ten years ago there was a story that made headlines about a pizza delivery guy who claimed that he was kidnapped, had a bomb strapped to his neck, and made to rob a bank. The police made it to where he was at, but were unsuccessful in their attempts to disarm the device  before detonating. Well, the story did not have a happy ending. The bomb exploded and killed the guy it was strapped to. Years later, it was alleged that the guy possibly made it all up and used it as a cover story, him being the one that orchestrated the whole thing, but on counting the police to “save” him before the bomb went off.

That was real life, so you know that Hollywood would be knocking on the doors eventually to make a movie about it, right? Yes and no. The yes part is that they did make a film with that general theme, but NOT in the “true story” kind of way. They were to make a comedy with a bunch of funny actors and comedians involved, too! Yes, that was a bit of sarcasm to lighten up the mood. This IS a comedy film, and I did not want you think otherwise.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a pizza delivery guy who drives a crappy 80’s Mustang and delivers pizzas for a pittance. He drives like a maniac and is constantly late with the orders – hence the 30 minutes or less or pizza is free – tagline. Chet (Aziz Ansari) is Nick’s best friend and roommate and they just shoot the shit all the while not being very productive members of society. Well, Chet yes, Nick no. Chet is an elementary school teacher. Nick is still a pizza delivery boy who has the hots for Chet’s incredibly hot sister. This will factor in much later in the film.

On the other side of town we have budding criminal masterminds Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) who have plotted and conspired to kill Dwayne’s stern father played by the awesome, talented, and hilarious Fred Ward. Michael Peña is thrown in for good measure as Chango which means monkey in Spanish. He’s one of the more hilarious stereotyped Latino characters I have seen in some time; neck tats, and everything. Just the way he slurred his lines had me balling. He’s a fool. Well, the gruesome twosome that are Dwayne and Travis kidnap, strap a bomb on Nick and make him rob a bank for $100,000, so that they may hire Chango to kill Dwayne’s dad. See, it’s not that hard to follow at all.

The trailer for 30 Minutes or Less looked horrible and I had no interest in it. I decided to give it a shot on Blu-ray, because I figured what the hell. If it’s going to be an awful film, it might as well be awful in high definition. I was actually really surprised at who much fun I had watching the film! I was floored. I’ve never seen Aziz Ansari in anything before, but  he was the breakout star of 30 Minutes or Less, in my opinion. Those who kind of faltered were Danny McBride and Nick Swardson. They were sort of unbearable in the beginning of the film, because they pretty much adlibbed most of their entire lines. And I don’t know what Nick Swardson’s been doing, but he looks like he swallowed Nick Swardson. Dude got huge. Literally. McBride is still the same twitchy McBride that he’s always been. He still sports a jacked up haircut.

Hijinx come fast and furiously, but Nick and Chet will do everything they can to not let that bomb go off. Personally, I don’t think that 30 Minutes or Less is untactful and I don’t think the filmmakers set out to make fun of a tragic situation, strange as it may be, so don’t take this review or film as them making fun of the whole thing. I would also recommend not watching any promotional materials for the film, because I don’t think it was marketed well to begin with. 30 Minutes or Less is good for a watch on a lazy Sunday for sure.

Video 

30 Minutes or Less is presented in 1080p, 2.35:1, widescreen. The transfer on this Blu-ray is very peculiar in that it just doesn’t leap out at you. I gave it a neutral score due to the awesome 280Z that is showcased in the film, because that does pop, but everything else doesn’t. It’s a very muted picture. It looks like everything was shot with a matte lens or something. Skin colors appear slightly darker than they normally would with the exceptions of Michael Peña and Aziz Ansari, because they’re already olive in color. It’s everyone else that looks like that had  a cigarette put out on them. Strange. There is grain present, contrast has a bit of a boost, and sharpness levels are fine. Black levels also remain stable and I did not detect instances of dirt or scratches on the print. With the exception of the heavy muting of the color palette this video presentation is just okay.

Audio 

30 Minutes or Less is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. Where the video drops the ball, the sound quality picks up the slack. There are lots of rock and hip-hop tunes used throughout the film that really showcase the LFE in all it’s low frequency glory. Dialogue levels are clean and balanced as are the left and right channels. There are various set pieces where destruction reigns supreme and the lossless soundtrack handles the madness beautifully. The surround channels also get a nice little workout, too. The soundtrack for 30 Minutes or Less more than made up for the lukewarm video presentation, so I was pleased.

Special Features 

30 Minutes or Less has a few special features that are pretty solid, but could have been amped up just little bit more. We have two featurettes where the talking heads go on and on about how great it was to work everyone, blah, blah, blah. We’ve seen it before. There are some outtakes, deleted scenes, and a PIP video commentary track with the director and stars which is pretty cool. The supplements are presented in HD, as well.

  • Picture-In-Picture Video Commentary with Actors Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson and Director Ruben Fleischer
  • “Blowing Up with the Cast & Crew of 30 Minutes or Less
  • “The Perfect Crime: Action and Comedy in 30 Minutes or Less
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes

Final Thoughts 

30 Minutes or Less was a disaster waiting to happen, because I almost wrote it off going in. If it wasn’t for Aziz Ansari, Jesse Eisenberg, and Michael Peña, I would have completely written the film off. I am a big Nick Swardson fan and like Danny McBride, but I can only take them in small doses when they play characters like this. They are by far the weakest link even though they’re crucial to the plot. The tech/specs are fair, but I can only give 30 Minutes or Less a somewhat in-the-middle kind of rating. It’s worth renting, but don’t think it’s worth buying. I think Zombieland was a better directed film. Either way, give it a go, if you must.

 

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “30 Minutes or Less (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    The bank robbery was the only good scene in the movie for me, the rest was forgettable.

  2. Matt Blu-Man

    I dug it a lot. An easy buy. Good review, I agree with most of your thoughts.