In 2011, we were all still talking about Jesse Eisenberg’s Oscar-nominated role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network from the year prior. That may be part of why so many of us missed the weird action-comedy 30 Minutes of Less. Here, Eisenberg plays a pizza delivery guy with a bomb strapped to his chest. Even weirder, the story is inspired by actual events. Now, Netflix is giving us all a second chance to catch 30 Minutes or Less, and if you’re in for a real binge-watch, a documentary based on the real-life events as well.
Jesse Eisenberg stars in 30 Minutes or Less with Aziz Ansari, who plays his best friend. Danny McBride and his sidekick Nick Swardson play the villains who decide to kidnap our pizza delivery guy (Jesse Eisenberg) and strap a bomb to his chest. The villains tell Eisenberg to rob a bank, and once he gets them their money, they will remove the bomb. Or at least, that’s what they say. The story has a romantic subplot, where Eisenberg has a secret relationship with his best friend’s sister. This becomes an issue when he needs his best friend to help him rob a bank and get rid of a bomb.
While 30 Minutes of Less picked up some steam with fans of stoner comedies, it has yet to become a commonly known comedy. 30 Minutes or Less earned $40.5 million at the worldwide box office on a $28 million budget, which wasn’t great. Jesse Eisenberg is more known for his films like The Social Network, Zombieland, and Now You See Me. (the third Now You See Me movie is currently in development.) Still, it’s an Eisenberg movie, so you can expect to follow a fast-talking character that’s maybe a little too much in his own head, this time with a bomb strapped to his chest. That’s a solid choice for a night with Netflix.
If the movie has you curious, you can also check out the Netflix docuseries, Evil Genius: the True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist. While the Jesse Eisenberg movie was clearly inspired by the basic premise of the real-life events in 2003, the documentary tells a much wilder story. In 2003, Brian Wells was a pizza delivery man with a bomb around his neck. He robbed a bank and had a note with clues for a treasure hunt he was meant to complete before the timer went off. Eventually, he was stopped by the police in Erie, Pennsylvania. The police weren’t sure if the bomb or Wells’ story were real.
The events with Brian Wells and the bomb are mostly covered in the first episode of the docuseries, as the following episodes dive into the people who did this completely bizarre and violent thing to Wells. They’re a lot creepier than Danny McBride’s fictional character in the Jesse Eisenberg movie, who just wants a lot of money so he can continue being a lazy dude.
A lot of the laughs in 30 Minutes or Less come from the pair of fictional villains, who are a couple of lazy guys stumbling their way through getting someone else to rob a bank for them. If you’re up for a light action comedy you can watch in under an hour and a half, this often forgotten Jesse Eisenberg movie will make a solid addition to your Netflix queue.