Film

Doppelgängers of New York

The Olsen twins wreak havoc on
the Big Apple (and our critic) in New York Minute

Perhaps once or twice in everyone’s life, there comes a time when you
have to take one for the team, to commit a selfless act that will benefit
your friends, your family, or society as a whole. Maybe you’ll take a
bullet in the gut to save the prime minister’s life; maybe you’ll
throw yourself on top of a grenade to make sure that Brooklyn Joe will get
back home and marry his high-school sweetheart; maybe you’ll have to
eat that entire rancid ham in the back of the fridge so your roommates
don’t get sick and die. My own moment came last night when I sat in a
theatre and unselfishly martyred my sensibilities by watching the Olsen
twins’ latest film, New York Minute—in its entirety, from opening
credits to closing credits—just so you won’t ever have to do the
same. In a way, I kind of felt like Jesus, except I was sitting down instead
of hanging from a cross. And instead of eating nothing, I was eating popcorn.
Also, I’m not the son of God. Now, those who know me know that
I’m pretty far from being a “tween”; as a 27-year-old male
with a university education, I sincerely doubt that I could be counted
amongst the demographic this film is geared towards. But at the same time, I
don’t care. This film blows to its fullest blowtential, so much so that
I doubt even the screechy 10-year-old girls who spent more time running up
and down the aisles than sitting next to me found something to hold onto. And
really, failing to satiate the entertainment needs of an age group to whom
ponies, ice cream and Hilary Duff are the height of sophistication is a feat
that no amount of unrestrained hyperbole could sufficiently communicate. But
perhaps I’m being too harsh, you say. I mean, after all, this is just
an Olsen twins film, right? We know they suck. Ah, quite true, my
segue-assisting friends, but up until now, with the exception of 1995’s
It Takes Two, the Olsens have quietly and unobtrusively sucked their lives
away in the bargain bin at Blockbuster. The very fact that this film made it
to theatres rather than going straight to video like those before it suggests
that Mary-Kate and Ashley actually felt that this film was going to be their
big break, their entry point into the mainstream of cinema. If only they had
known how wrong they were. Directed by Dennie Gordon (What a Girl Wants, Joe
Dirt) and starring a scad of B-list comedic actors who should have known
better, the film tells the rather pedestrian story of two sisters from
different walks of life who get into all kinds of wacky adventures. As we
join the mismatched pair, Jane Ryan (one of the Olsen twins) is a button-down
Republican who is about to give a speech that will grant her a scholarship to
go to Oxford (which is apparently in London now, according to the movie),
while Roxy Ryan (the other Olsen twin) is a slovenly “punk”
“rocker” who is cutting class so she can go to a Simple Plan
video shoot and give her band’s demo CD to some rock executives. But
things go awry for the two sisters as they are pursued by myriad pursuers,
including Eugene Levy, a truant officer (they still have those, right?) who
is looking to bag Roxy and a promotion, and Andy Richter, a foot soldier for
the Chinese mafia who is trying to recover a computer chip full of pirated
music that Roxy is unwittingly in possession of. Madcap antics and, by
extension, hilarity, allegedly ensue, all wrapped up in a package consisting
of needlessly flashy editing, insulting racial stereotypes, cloying
sentimentality and dreamy, non-threatening boys. Levy should seriously
consider never being in another movie again after his hammy, craptacular
performance, but Richter should be especially ashamed of himself for his
portrayal of a white guy raised by Chinese mafioso/laundromat-owners,
complete with an incredibly inappropriate Asian accent that makes Jerry
Lewis’s Japanese busboy routine seem positively reeled-in. The twins,
meanwhile—and I’m sure that this will come as a
surprise—totally can’t act. And as if that weren’t enough,
let’s face it: they look like those little wild-haired troll dolls that
bingo players love so much. How far can you go with that? Hopefully, the box
office will determine that answer, and the Olsen twins will grudgingly return
to the depths of the straight-to-video empire from whence they came. V New
York Minute Directed by Dennie Gordon • Written by Emily Fox •
Starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Eugene Levy, Andy Richter and Darrell
Hammond • Now sucking

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