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New York Minute  (2004)


Rating: PG

Distributor: Warner Home Video

Release Date: August 17, 2004
Review posted: August 11, 2004


Reviewed by Rachel Sexton




Twins Jane (Ashley Olsen) and Roxy Ryan (Mary-Kate Olsen) start a day in New York City with different plans: Jane is to give a speech to win a Fellowship, and Roxy is to ditch school yet again to go to a band’s music video shoot to get her band’s demo to their manager. Getting kicked off the train is only the start of their problems, which end up involving a microchip belonging to a Chinese piracy ring, evading a truant officer (Levy), and keeping tabs on a Senator’s dog.




I’ll say it up front: I am not a fan of the Olsen twins. Not even close. To me, they are the top example of people who are famous just because, not for any merit. This film did nothing to change my mind. New York Minute is a bad film, an example of awful writing, mediocre direction, and most of all lacking performances.


The film’s story itself is just not good enough. The plot is a meandering series of implausible situations designed to get broad laughs, but nothing happens. Not only is there no emotional connection, some of the things that happen would just never happen. Writers Emily Fox, Adam Cooper, and Bill Collage fell into the clichés of an Olsen film, the most blaring of which is the two-dimensional delineation of their characters so they can say, “Oh, look how different they are even though they look alike.”


The humor just rarely works and the dialogue isn’t much better. At one point, Ashley even says “My bad.” Talk about five years ago! Andy Richter as one of the Chinese criminals does a fake accent that is clearly meant to be fake, as pointed out in dialogue, but every time he speaks, it just feels stupid.


The New York created here may just as well be computer-generated. Running into the same people everywhere, changing clothes, like, five times in one day, the “everything’s okay” ending—none of this is realistic. There is also a racially insensitive scene set in Harlem, and plenty of other films are referenced throughout.


The direction here is also underwhelming. Dennie Gordon does nothing to create a unifying tone. She uses inset screens nicely but no standout camera work or angles, the editing is not exceptional, and she crafts what feel like a million pointless montages. There’s nothing that stands out more as a way to fill up time, and the film is only an hour and a half long. Oh wait, that must be a good thing.


The Olsen twins, as I said, never struck me as talented in their older incarnations. They mostly do comedy fine but that’s not enough. There’s even a dramatic scene near the film’s end and it is conspicuous that they can’t call up the tears. Respect for their business abilities only goes so far. Their looks are also approaching artificial more and more. Eugene Levy is the only true bright spot, a comedian so gifted even this material can’t cover it.


New York Minute as a film is strictly for those tweens who couldn’t care less about quality and just want to see more of the Olsen twins.




This disc is in 16 by 9 widescreen format, preserving the theatrical images.




Dolby Surround 5.1 in English and French is available, as are English, French, and Spanish subtitles.




Blooper Reel—A 2-minute compilation of outtakes from the film which are only sporadically funny, like the film itself.


Alternate Endings—The two presented are essentially the same outcome as the one actually used except that the setting for both is now the girls’ home. Neither is exceptional or better than the one used in the film.


In a New York Minute—The typical studio featurette with interviews of the cast members and the director and on-set footage. The 14 minutes is nothing exciting and the best bit is with the dog that plays Reinaldo in the film. And what’s with all this talk about this being their first feature film? They were in 1995’s It Takes Two, weren’t they?


Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Behind the Scenes Slideshow—A truly unnecessary feature as photos and production stills flash onscreen to the tune of the Simple Plan song “Vacation” heard in the film.


Trailer—Not bad as far as trailers go. There are no other sneak peeks.




Olsen twins fans will enjoy the film maybe, but filmgoers should stay away. You’re not missing out on anything! A bad film is not helped by the okay extras.




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