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New York Minute

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen star in New York Minute--a big-screen feature with a direct-to-video plot.


Roxy (Mary-Kate Olsen) and Jane Ryan (Ashley Olsen) are two 17-year-old twins whose similarities end with their physical features. Roxy is a rebellious rocker chick who falls asleep with her clothes on and leaves them on the next day, while Jane is an anal retentive control freak who doesn't take a bathroom break unless it's been scheduled. On this particular day, the girls take the train form their Long Island home for Manhattan; Roxy to crash at a music video shoot to slip her demo tape to the band's A & R team and Jane to deliver a speech she hopes will get her a scholarship to Oxford. But their day in the city gets ruined when a member of an Asian DVD pirating ring drops a microchip into Roxy's bag and the two find themselves being chased down by this cartel, lead by limo driver Bennie Bang (Andy Richter). Roxy also has to escape the clutches of Max Lomax (Eugene Levy), a truancy officer hell-bent on nabbing the seditious teen in the illicit act of cutting class. Unfortunately, this story is as bad it sounds. The only things worse than its sophomoric plot are its gratuitous little details, like the lily-white Bennie's awful Asian accent and the miniature mutt the girls are forced to carry around after it eats the microchip.


Having to sit through this silly movie is a feat in itself, but it does have a couple of things going for it: 1) It's only 91 minutes and 2) those Olsen twins are so darn cute! Actually, make that Mary-Kate and Ashley, since the two recently told Premiere magazine they hate being called 'The Olsen Twins' (''It's just, like, uncomfortable,'' as Ashley put it. Perhaps they should start working on separate projects then, or stop holding hands at public appearances?) Nonetheless, the same-aged sisters at least know how to act, something they've been doing since they were nine months old. Despite a ridiculous storyline, Mary-Kate and Ashley actually have a couple of really touching scenes as Roxy and Jane, which usually revolve around how they've grown apart over the years and how each has dealt with their mother's death years earlier. But these sincere moments are few and far between and the filmmakers seem more intent on using New York Minute as a springboard to launch the girls' new young-adult image than releasing a poignant pic. The adult cast, however, has no excuse for signing on to this teen-o-rama--unless it's to collect a paycheck. The talented Levy as the idiotic truancy officer is just pathetic and Richter's role as an Asian wanna-be gangster is offensive and sad.


Director Dennie Gordon (Joe Dirt, What a Girl Wants) takes a lazy approach to New York Minute. The film plays out like an extended episode of The Adventures of Mary Kate and Ashley, that ABC TV special where the girls played the Trenchcoat Twins--pint-sized detectives who promised to ''solve any crime by dinner time.'' To make the subject matter more appealing to all the young girls emulating them as well as their budding legions of male fans, Gordon uses slick MTV-style editing, with it's music-laden, frenzied pace, and makes sure to place Mary-Kate and Ashley in an more provocative light: The loving sisterly moments are overshadowed by shot after shot of the girls either running about town in 6-inch heels and, at one point, running through Manhattan in a terry cloth robes and towels. Plus, they consistently get doused with liquids, be it puddle water, someone's drink or water from a sewer main, giving them plenty of opportunity to change costumes. Gordon may have been going for a Ferris Bueller's Day Off-type picture but instead delivers a dim-witted movie still targeted at the prepubescent.

Bottom Line

While Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have proven that they are no longer awkward looking 'tweens but ravishing young beauties, New York Minute's direct-to-video mode won't do much to boost their careers--except maybe pad their financial coffers, already worth an estimated $2 billion, some more.