'30 Minutes or Less,' a comedy very obviously inspired by the quite horrifying demise of pizza delivery man Brian Wells, is under a bit of scrutiny after TMZ wrote about how INFURIATED Wells' friends are about the whole thing. In 2003, Wells was allegedly part of a bank-robbing conspiracy that required him to wear a bomb locked to his body, much as Jesse Eisenberg's character does in the movie, which opens Friday. Wells, quite understandably, tried to back out of the plot once he realized that the bomb was quite real. (For those interested, Wired has a fascinating look at this story and Jen Yamato over at Movieline breaks down the key similarities between the film and the real-life events.) Earlier this week, Sony responded to the controversy by issuing a statement that read, "Neither the filmmakers nor the stars of 30 Minutes or Less were aware of this crime prior to their involvement in the film. The writers were vaguely familiar with what had occurred and wrote an original screenplay that does not mirror the real-life tragedy." O.K.?
Sorry, but I find that hard to believe. "Filmmakers or stars" pretty much includes everyone connected with the movie. But maybe that statement is correct? Maybe the film isn't quite as close to real life events as we think they are? Let's at least try to look at things from their perspective (and God have mercy on my soul). - '30 Minutes or Less' takes place in Grand Rapids, MI, which has a population of 188,040. In real life, the events took place in Erie, PA. Population 195,000. So the real life event took place in a city that is larger by almost 7,000 people. See, not at all the same!
- In '30 Minutes or Less,' Jesse Eisenberg plays a character who is in his early 20s. Brian Wells was in his late 40s. How can this at all be misconstrued as the same story?
- In '30 Minutes or Less,' a bomb is locked onto Eisenberg's chest. In real life, the bomb was a locking metal cuff around the neck. Again, not at all the same!
- In '30 Minutes or Less,' Jesse Eisenberg works for a pizza place that serves a New York-style pizza. In real life, Mamma Mia Pizzeria delivers a hand-tossed specialty. How anyone can see any similarities between the two is beyond comprehension!
Look, it's pretty obvious to everyone in the world that these real-life events inspired the film. Why not just admit that and move on? I mean, yes, it's sad that a man died eight years ago, but it's not like '30 Minutes or Less' is a direct interpretation of those events and casts Wells in a bad light. This "Neither the filmmakers nor the stars of '30 Minutes or Less' were aware of this crime prior to their involvement in the film" line just keeps the Internet outrage machine rolling -- simply because the statement itself is a bit ludicrous.
Hey, I've got an idea for a movie: The plot centers on a few dozen people who come from all different parts of the country and all, miraculously, haven't heard of the same very popular news story.