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New York Minute

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: New York Minute

Starring: Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen
Director: Dennie Gordon
Rated: PG
RunTime: 91 Minutes
Release Date: May 2004
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Andy Richter, Jared Padalecki, Riley Smith, Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Garen Boyajian, Darrell Hammond, Drew Pinsky, Todd Schroeder, Mary Bond Davis

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

NEW YORK MINUTE stars the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, a massive acting franchise who have literally made something like a billion dollars off of their direct-to-video movies and all of their associated merchandise. NEW YORK MINUTE, however, is their first theatrical release since 1995's IT TAKES TWO, when the now 17-year-old twins were almost a decade younger.

So will their large and rabid fan base of tweens and grown-up tweens (a.k.a. teenagers) be disappointed? Not for a New York minute. The surprise, however, is that this good-spirited and enormously cute film will even appeal to relatively older fogies, from college kids to senior citizens. If you've ever enjoyed a screwball comedy before and if you go into NEW YORK MINUTE with an open mind about silly kids' comedies, you'll have a great time.

The story concerns two very different twins. Jane Ryan (Ashley Olsen) is a type A+ personality whose life is minutely inscribed in color in her day planner. Wanting to get away from her bad news sister, Roxy (Mary-Ashley Olsen), Jane is off to make a speech, competing against girls with names like "Muffy," in order to win a scholarship to Oxford. Jane is a clotheshorse with a killer closet, but Roxy's kinky wardrobe looks like a stink bomb went off in her closet.

Let me get this out of the way first. One of the most asked questions about the Olsens on the Internet is whether there is a nude scene in their new movie. Actually, there are several, but all we see in this correctly rated PG movie is a naked back. In one hilarious dream sequence, the anal retentive Jane envisions herself speaking naked before a crowd since she forgot to dress. Jane, you have to understand, is such a persnickety person that she uses two toilet seat covers when going to the bathroom. And when no covers are available, well, that proves to be fodder for a humorous moment.

The movie's music choices are terrific. When we first see the twins coming out of their bedrooms, "War" is played loudly. The best song, however, is sung intentionally badly by Eugene Levy (A MIGHTY WIND). Levy plays a deadbeat gumshoe with a job as a truant officer. As this would-be Dirty Harry tracks down his most prized perp, the ever-absent Roxy, he sings to himself in his junker of a car, "Bad girl, bad girl, what you gonna do when I come for you?"

This high energy picture used no less than sixty-six stunt people. For what? Well, the wacky plot concerns a microchip that the girls end up with. Actually not the girls, but a bizarre looking little dog who swallows it. As they carry the dog, a doofus bad guy chases them all over New York. (In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it-moment, the twins pass a street vendor hawking pirated Mary-Kate and Ashley DVDs. I didn't see if NEW YORK MINUTE was among them.)

The movie's best gag has a senator's son, Trey Lipton (Jared Padalecki), walking in on the girls in their robes just after their showers. After they both do a classic slo-mo, sexy hair flip, he looks in disbelief at the gorgeous blond twins -- who kinda snuck into his hotel room to get cleaned up -- and exclaims, "Is it my birthday?"

Even if their big message moment falls a little flat, most of the movie sizzles with unbounded charm. Can the Olsens, like the Energizer bunny, keep on going when they reach adulthood? Although it might seem impossible, this movie argues that they probably can.

NEW YORK MINUTE runs 1:26. It is rated PG for "mild sensuality and thematic elements" and would be acceptable for all ages.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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