07 September 2004

New York Minute

Twin sisters, Jane and Roxy Ryan spend one madcap day in New York City in the hopes of gaining Jane a scholarship to Oxford and landing Roxy a record deal. Roxy, played by Mary Kate Olsen is the rebel sister. She wears vintage t-shirts and lots of black eyeliner; is a master at skipping school; and is the drummer for an aspiring pop rock band. Ashley Olsen, the blonder sister, plays Jane, who, as signified by her geeky, yet uber stylish glasses, is a stark contrast to Roxy. Jane is an uptight, ultra-organized, germaphobic, straight A student, and apparently the captain of the cheerleading team? Needless to say, the twin sisters resent each other's existence (DESPITE their posh house, an easy going, unobservant dad, killer wardrobe, nice hair, and seemingly perfect life).

Unfortunately, a series of mishaps and a case of mistaken identity (after all, it wouldn't be a twin movie without some mistaken identity action) aboard the train to NYC leads Jane and Roxy to unwittingly take a ride from the henchmen of a ruthless music pirating ring/ nail salon which causes a bum to spill his slurpee onto Jane’s shirt, which forces the girls to sneak into the Plaza hotel, which leads to an ugly dog eating a valuable microchip, which then necessitates the ransom of Jane’s organizer, which leads the twins to a Simple Plan video shoot and gets them on stage to dance with the band and crowd surf, which then causes the girls to fall down a man hole that eventually takes them Harlem where they get “blinged” (i.e., terrible wigs and gaudy outfits), which then makes me realize how really unimportant plot is as long as it allows for continual costume changes and showcases MaryKateandAshley’s comedic prowess and, excuse me if I barf, sex appeal (They're barely legal, people!). By the end of the day, do Jane and Roxy learn that perhaps it’s not the scholarship or record deal that matters, but more importantly, their relationship and the time spent together OR do they learn that they can have their cake and eat it too?

New York Minute is targeted at two audiences: the young droids who eat up Mary Kate and Ashley’s straight-to-video films and the skeezy adults who insist on reiterating how hot little Michelle Tanner has become. With all the scenes featuring trendy little outfits and a surprising lack of clothing, both fan groups should be immensely pleased. Everyone else will be pleasantly surprised – if you go in with really low expectations.

Firstly, Mary Kate and Ashley have come a long way from the mindless recitation of “You got it dude” from their Full House days. I’d even venture to say that they’re now actresses. Even without the different hair colors or difference in height and style, one could tell the lead characters apart by the performances and character development of the respective actress. Mary Kate is nothing to sneeze at, but Ashley stands out with a finer sense of comedic timing and expression. Despite the pseudo-punk attitude, Mary Kate still reads like a rich girl from Malibu. Ashley, on the other hand, seems to more fully immerse herself in the idiosyncrasies of her character. I think it’s time that Ashley starts getting top billing. From here on, refer to the twins as Ashley and Mary Kate.

New York Min. also features an assortment of notable cameos. Andy Richter is pretty hilarious as an American-born, need I add, white henchmen who speaks with a Chinese accent. Eugene Levy stars as Max Lomax, a fumbling truant officer intent on catching Roxy Ryan playing hooky ala Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Levy, puts his own goofy, near sighted twist on the evil authority figure character. Levy’s former SCTV cast mate, Andrea Martin also stars as an important Senator with a hot son. Darrell Hammond, playing the straight man to the Olsens’ gags and mishaps, exudes a creepiness that I now realize is in all of his characters and impersonations (e.g., Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Sean Connery). Other familiar, yet not very famous, faces include Jack Osbourne (The Osbournes), Jared Padalecki(Gilmore Girls), Drew Pinksy (Love Line), and Bob Saget (Full House).

If you look beyond the ridiculousness of the storyline, flat supporting characters, and racial stereotypes, the movie’s rather enjoyable, even funny at times. In fact, New York Minute is hands down better than the Lizzie McGuire movie.

My recommendation: If you’re into the teen girl genre, I’d say, what the heck, rent it. However, if you are one of those icky people who counted down the days til Ashley and Mary Kate turned 18, forget it. Don’t rent the movie, just get help.

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