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Ruben Fleischer
Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Dilshad Vadsaria, Michael Peńa, Bianca Kajlich, Fred Ward
Writing Credits:
Michael Diliberti (and story), Matthew Sullivan (story)

Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else ...

Box Office:
$28 million.
Opening Weekend
$13.330 million on 2888 screens.
Domestic Gross
$37.053 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 83 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 11/29/2011

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


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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30 Minutes Or Less [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (Nobvember 14, 2011)

When last seen on the big screen, Jesse Eisenberg earned his first-ever Academy Award nomination for 2010’s Social Network. Somehow I doubt that his follow-up will merit Oscar love, as 2011’s 30 Minutes or Less provides a decidedly less cerebral affair than the docudrama of Network.

Unemployed loser Dwayne (Danny McBride) lives with his dad “The Major” (Fred Ward) and waits for his old man’s death so he can come into a decent inheritance. Encouraged by stripper “Juicy” (Bianca Kajlick) to kill The Major, she tells him that she can find a hit man for $100,000.

But how can the destitute Dwayne raise the funds necessary to hire the killer? He and his dimwitted buddy Travis (Nick Swardson) decide they need to find a way to get someone to rob a bank for them.

That’s when pizza delivery boy Nick (Eisenberg) gets involved. They order a pie and when he arrives at their door, they use their rudimentary knowledge of explosives to their advantage. They kidnap Nick, strap a bomb to him and tell them he’ll get blowed up good if he doesn’t rob the bank for them. Despite a recent falling out between them, Nick begs his lifelong pal Chet (Aziz Ansari) to help him figure out how to deal with this threat.

Eisenberg and director Ruben Fleischer paired for 2009’s Zombieland and worked well together. That was the first time I liked Eisenberg, as it’s the first time he seemed like anything other than a Michael Cera impersonator. In addition, the flick displayed a fun mix of horror, action and comedy, so it turned into a winner.

Less doesn’t work as well, but it entertains more than it doesn’t. Some of the credit goes to the cast, as the various actors give the project their all. Eisenberg continues to break away from his prior Cera-esque personality; although Nick isn’t a stretch as a character, he seems believable as the burgeoning action hero seen here, and Eisenberg portrays the role’s different facets well.

Eisenberg also combines with Ansari for a satisfying comedic duo, as do McBride and Swardson. Again, no one reinvents any of their own wheels here, as we’ve seen all the involved actors play similar roles – McBride just sticks with his patented arrogant moron – but they do fine in the parts. Though none of them stretch their talents, they create funny, enjoyable turns.

Fleischer also manages to mix action and comedy reasonably well, especially during the film’s second act. The film hits its peak with the actual bank robbery and the getaway, as both of those provide comedic gems. I especially like the car chase, as it overtly channels Beverly Hills Cop in amusing fashion.

And then the flick hits a wall, as it really drags during its last third. After the prior hour or so’s hijinks, no one seems to know how to end the tale in a satisfying manner. The action escalates but not in a particularly enjoyable way, and the movie plods along toward its finish. The third act slows down so badly that it makes the film’s 83-minute running time seem shockingly long.

That’s a disappointment, as the first two acts work so well. No, they never soar, and Less lacks the giddy genre reinvention of Zombieland, but it delivers a freewheeling lark.

Does the draggy nature of the third act kill Less? No – it earned enough goodwill during the first two parts to keep itself in our good graces. The final act flaws do make this a more qualified recommendation than I’d like, though. I think this is a sporadically fun flick but too inconsistent for my liking.

Footnote: stick around through the end credits to get a fun tag that shows the fates of some characters.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

30 Minutes or Less appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Expect generally solid visuals here.

Only minor concerns affected sharpness, as occasional wide shots seemed a smidgen soft. Those didn’t create significant problems, though, as the majority of the movie appeared accurate and concise. I witnessed no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and no artifacts or processing seemed to mar the presentation. As one would expect of a brand-new movie, print flaws failed to appear.

Though most modern action movies prefer stylized colors – and that was the case for Zombieland - Less opted for pretty natural hues. These weren’t especially vibrant, but they seemed reasonably full and accurate. Blacks were deep and tight, while low-light shots delivered good clarity and definition. Overall this was a pleasing image.

Due to the “action” side of this action-comedy, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack offered a strong showing. Though the movie didn’t boast constant opportunities for excitement, it came with more than a few. The soundfield made good use of various car chases, explosions and gunfire. These popped up in logical locations all around the five channels and blended together well to form a lively, involving soundscape.

Audio quality was good, though the mix seemed a little off at times. In particular, louder action scenes tended to bury the dialogue. That was especially true during the post-robbery getaway, as I found it awfully hard to understand the lines; I understood the desire to accentuate the vehicular pyrotechnics but wasn’t happy that the speech got submerged as much as it did.

That wasn’t a major issue, though, and it failed to affect most of the movie. In general, dialogue seemed distinctive and natural, and other aspects of the track excelled. Music was peppy and dynamic, while effects seemed vivid and full. Low-end response really impressed when we got explosions or other loud elements; those rocked my subwoofer in a positive manner. This track didn’t work well enough for “A”-level consideration, but it deserved a firm “B+”.

When we move to extras, we launch with a video commentary from director Ruben Fleischer and actors Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson. All five sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of cast and performances, sets and locations, improvisation, deleted and alternate scenes, stunts and action, and some other notes.

This commentary sounds promising but ends up as a snoozer. Most of the remarks simply talk about what’s funny and what was fun during the shoot. Though we get a few decent details, there’s not a lot of meat in this mediocre chat.

By the way, the video aspect of the commentary seems pretty dull. It just shows the five guys in the studio as they chat, so it adds little to nothing to the presentation.

Two featurettes follow. Within the 14-minute, eight-second Blowing Up with the Cast of 30 Minutes or Less, we hear from Fleischer, Eisenberg, Ansari, Swardson, McBride, editor Alan Baumgarten, executive producer Monica Levinson, producer Stuart Cornfeld, and actors Bianca Kajlick, Dilshad Vadsaria, and Michael Pena. We get a basic overview of actors and characters. It’s a pretty puffy and forgettable piece.

The Perfect Crime: Action and Comedy in 30 Minutes or Less runs 10 minutes, 58 seconds and includes notes from Ansari, Eisenberg, McBride, Fleischer, Vadsaria, Baumgarten, Swardson, Cornfeld, Levinson, and Kajlich. We get some notes about action and stunts. Though this one has more meat than “Cast”, it’s still largely promotional and it lacks much to elevate it beyond that level.

10 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 11 minutes, 40 seconds. Most of these offer some pretty minor gags or extensions of current sequences, but a few fun ones emerge. In particular, “Dwayne Finds Major Wounded” gives us a good alternate, and the “Vito’s Commercial” is a hoot. This isn’t a collection of scenes, but it gives us a decent package.

We also get six minutes, 14 seconds of Outtakes. This delivers a run of improv moments that provide alternate takes of various scenes. These are often pretty funny, such as Ansari’s riffs on awful ways to die.

The disc opens with ads for Colombiana, Attack the Block, and Straw Dogs. These also appear under Previews along with promos for A Good Old Fashioned Orgy and Bucky Larson: Born to Be A Star. No trailer for Less shows up here.

Expect an inconsistent action-comedy from 30 Minutes or Less. It comes with more than a few enjoyable moments but drags a little too much to be a total winner. The Blu-ray offers solid picture and audio plus a decent set of supplements. The movie’s entertaining enough for a moderate recommendation, but don’t expect greatness from it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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