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Movie Review: 'New York Minute'

SYNOPSIS:

In New York Minute, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen star as Jane and Roxy, two twins on the verge of adulthood who could not be more different (unless, of course, they had been fraternal twins instead). Jane is the Type A personality on her way to present a big speech on economics that will hopefully land her a scholarship to Oxford; Roxy is the rock ‘n' roll troublemaker who regularly skips school to attend band practice. In a series of wacky misadventures, the twins are chased across New York City by a vindictive truant officer (Eugene Levy) and a homicidal limo driver with a pretend Chinese accent (Andy Richter).

SOME THINGS I LEARNED:

  • Hillary Duff has a new movie coming out. This was reinforced by Pacific Place thoughtfully playing the entire four minute trailer not once but twice before starting the movie. Hillary Duff plays a modern day Cinderella, probably because research shows that the world clearly needs one more retelling of the Cinderella story.

  • When Olsen twins dream, they dream in Kafka-esque nightmares of mazes and psychedelic clocks, recursing infinitely upon themselves. When Olsen twins awake, they are wearing lipstick.

  • It is apparently possible for high school students to achieve a 4.2 GPA. I am very irritated by this, as that is an additional .2 percentage points of inadequacy that I must now carry with me as a burden to my grave.

  • The movie was directed by Dennie Gordon, fresh off the success of What A Girl Wants starring Amanda Bynes, and Joe Dirt starring David Spade. This is proof of our recovering economy, as it demonstrates that just about anyone can get a job now.

  • The score was composed by George S. Clinton. I eagerly awaited the arrival of the Mothership to carry the Olsen twins off into a galaxy of funk, but as it turns out, there is more than one George Clinton in the world.

  • Red Bull is apparently the official sponsor of the Olsen twins. When you think about the entire career of the Olsen twins through the filter of a maniacal, unhealthy caffeine addiction, certain things make a little more sense.

  • In one scene, a boy does a cannonball off a house roof into a swimming pool. In another, an Olsen twin and her cute boy ride 111 blocks in 28 minutes - without wearing helmets. Apparently, the Olsen twins have no regard for basic safety principles whatsoever. What kind of message is this sending to the children? I have started a letter-writing campaign, don't fret.

  • When an Olsen twin mouths the words "I love you" to Eugene Levy, it is very, very creepy.

  • At one point, a giant python sneaks into the shower with a presumably nekkid Olsen twin. Perhaps this explains the PG rating for "mild sensuality."

HOW THEY MAKE THE MAGIC:
  • The production team uses the split screen, simultaneous action technique made popular by the television series, 24. In another technique borrowed from that show, they somehow made me feel as though I'd been watching the movie for nearly 24 hours.

  • A well known rule of movie making is that it is manipulative to place a child in danger in order to generate anxiety among the audience. A less well known corollary is that it is manipulative to place an Olsen twin in danger, as when the twins are stranded on the ledge of a building wearing nothing but bath towels. I could hardly sit still - those girls could have broken a nail at any moment!

  • In a page right out of Trainspotting, an Olsen twin falls into a horrifying toilet in a convenience store bathroom. Wisely omitted from the final cut of the film was another scene in which a dead Olsen twin crawls across the ceiling of their flat.

FANTASTIC QUOTES:

  • An excellent putdown that you can use in your every day life is, "I'm sorry, I didn't get your name… is it Loser?"

  • Upon being offered a free makeover at the House of Bling, Jane remarks, "Just so we're clear, I'd like a more corporate bling."

  • The twins miss a train that is no longer running due to track construction. Jane insists to the ticket taker that the train must be coming, at which point the ticket taker replies, "You're right, it's the magic leprechaun train that leaves for New York whenever you want, powered by your imagination!" Perhaps I like this quote simply because, deep in my heart, I have always believed in the magic leprechaun train.

SUMMARY:

The manufactured crisis that drives the twins apart in a stream of forced invective, and then later brings them together in a heartwarming finale, is unfortunate. But the twins can act just fine, choosing smartly to underplay the comedy instead of forcing it down our throats. The great tragedy of this film, however, will always be the fact that Bob Saget is onscreen for a grand total of five seconds. History will record that a great talent was wasted.



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