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FILM REVIEW
Movie Rating:
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New York Minute
Star(s): Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Eugene Levy, Andy Richter, Riley Smith, Jared Padalecki
Director: Dennie Gordon
Writer(s): Emily Fox
Company: Warner Bros.

New York Minute Image by Darisa Diaz

Oh, my, where to begin? New York Minute is the theatrical debut of the straight-to-DVD Mary-Kate & Ashley enterprise. Like every Mary-Kate & Ashley flick, it stars two sisters whose personalities are diametrically opposed. Like every Mary-Kate & Ashley flick, the sisters are only close genetically until the end of the film when they get it together and thereís a big hug when everythingís alright again. Oh, and before I forget, the girls always land a pair of cute boyfriends.

But, that's the problem here. New York Minute is that: itís just like every other Mary-Kate & Ashley flick.

M.K. is 17-year-old Roxanne ďRoxyĒ Ryan, a drummer wannabe with a punk rock attitude towards life. She dresses like a grunge rock reject and ranks #1 on Nassau County truancy officer Max Lomaxís (Eugene Levy) hit list. Ashley is the incredibly anal, plain Jane. Really, her name is Jane. She uses disposable toilet seat covers in her private bathroom. Her life is carefully programmed in her day planner. She owns a George Bush bobble head toy. Itís one Long Island rock reject versus one Long Island pastel princess.

Despite the fact that theyíve ignored each other since their motherís death, Roxy and Ashley are thrown together on a day trip to New York City. Roxyís skipping school to crash a Simple Plan concert and drop her demo to an A&R; rep. Ashleyís on her way to Columbia University to give a speech, win the Callahan Fellowship scholarship to Oxford University and get as far away from Roxy as possible. The day trip of course delights in throwing them together.

Everythingís running smoothly until Roxy realizes Lomax is on her tail. Thatís when things start to go haywire. The girls become involved in a Chinese piracy ring after unwittingly kidnapping an important computer chip from bad Benny, played by Andy Richter faking a bad Chinese accent. Donít ask. Doggie drama arises when a senatorís pooch eats the computer chip and tags along for the ride. The Chinese jokes are exaggerated and walk a fine line between joke and outright stereotype. Unfortunately, this isnít the only joke walking a tightrope.

It doesnít help that when Roxy and Jane finally find their way to Harlem, a stoneís throw away from Columbia University, they end up at the House of Bling. Most of the audience that actually laughed at this joke responded with uncomfortable guffaws. The whole scene is dominated by stereotypes that help along a wardrobe transition for the twins. Itís amazingly fortunate that the House of Bling folks take pity on the twins and offer to lend them clothing, style and a taxi cab.

Mary-Kate and Ashley films are rarely based in reality, but New York Minute is really out there. Itís so ďout thereĒ that it loses its audience from the get-go. The first fifteen minutes of the film stagnant quickly. Eugene Levy fails to garner the expected laughs. It is a stuffy Darrell Hammond doing his famed Al Gore shtick that comes to the rescue with the running gag. Unfortauntely, this running gag is forced to save the film too many times.

The guys in the film are as different as Jane and Roxy themselves. Riley Smith is Jim, a bicycle messenger dude. There isnít too much going on upstairs in Jimís big head. Gilmore Girlís Jared Paladecki is much more desirable as the senatorís wide-eyed son. If Jane and Roxy are nothing more than cookie cutter caricatures, you can imagine how deep their boyfriends get.

Sadly, despite some great New York City footage, funny chase scenes in towels and some hilarious scenes in a convenience store, New York Minute is a surprisingly unoriginal big-screen debut. It doesnít have the gumption and the spirit of Ferris Bueller and Legally Blonde or any of the films it steals from to keep afloat. For that matter, it falls short of topping the list of the best Mary Kate & Ashley films on DVD. New York Minute is only intermittingly interesting or fun.

My advice? The Olsens should stick to DVD until they can try their hand at some acting classes in college. The teary scenes do nothing but highlight the twinsí inability to convincingly portray a wide variety of emotions on-screen. Their timely big-screen debut of New York Minute only makes it obvious that this big move was perhaps premature.

Darisa Diaz is a native New Yorker with an obsession for film who will watch anything (bad or good) for the sheer thrill of being entertained. She currently works as a freelancer writer and juggles various "admin" jobs to pay the bills. She has also labored long hours at CosmoGIRL! and Seventeen magazine.

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