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Warner Home Video presents
"Can anything else go wrong today?"
DVD ReviewIf it seems we've known Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen forever, it's because we have. At the tender age of one, they co-starred in their first TV sitcom, the cloyingly cutesy Full House. That gig lasted eight years, and inspired the twins to spawn a cottage industry of dolls, books, cassettes, music videos, made-for-television movies, and other paraphernalia. Immune to over-exposure, their strategic assault on pop culture continued into their teens, as they seemed to morph from adorable tots to hot babes overnight, and with nary a pimple to show for it. Talk about a charmed life!
This past summer, the Olsen twins turned 18 (doesn't that make us feel old), and to celebrate their newfound adulthood, Mary-Kate and Ashley (and their corporate board of directors) decided to take their stardom to the next level. The leap to feature films might seem daunting to less seasoned pros, but a lifetime of success has imbued the Olsens with a serene sense of confidence. And that confidence shows in New York Minute, a slick, breakneck comedy 'tweens and young teens will love. Although Dennie Gordon's film laid an egg at the box office (much to the glee of half of Hollywood and three-quarters of the free world's adult population), it plays well on the small screen, where the Olsens seem most at home.
And it nails its target audience. Lest we forget in our rush to hang the twins in effigy, New York Minute is a film for kids.
Original, however, it is not. Shot in a breathless Martin Scorsese-meets-MTV style, New York Minute steals elements from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, After Hours, Family Ties, The Parent Trap, and probably a few other movies and TV shows as it chronicles a single madcap day in the lives of Long Island sisters Jane and Roxy Ryan (Ashley and Mary-Kate, respectively). Ever since their mom died, the twins have chosen divergent paths and rarely give each other the time of day. Buttoned-up Jane micromanages the household and pulls down straight As, while rebellious Roxy skips school, shirks responsibility, and immerses herself in rock music. Roxy's absences raise the ire of truant officer Max Lomax (Eugene Levy), who's determined to use any means to bring her to justice.
After their dad leaves for work, Jane heads to the Big Apple for a crucial scholarship competition at Columbia, while Roxy cuts class to hang out at a midtown music video shoot and hopefully slip her demo tape to the lead singer of Simple Plan. Both end up on the same commuter train to Manhattan, where a series of mishaps snowballs into bedlam. Before long, the girls must evade not only Lomax, but also a smuggler (Andy Richter) and an angry senator (Andrea Martin) who believes they've kidnapped her pooch. As they madly dash across New York dodging a constant barrage of obstacles, the twins bicker, snipe, meet a couple of hunky guys (Jared Padalecki and Riley Smith), get a makeover, and bare their pent-up feelings, before realizing their deep, true bond.
The frenetic pace of New York Minute becomes exhausting over time, but will definitely keep teen girls entertained. Teen guys, on the other hand, might enjoy an extended sequence of the twins running through Times Square—one in a skimpy bathrobe and the other in just a wrap-around towel. My, how these Olsens have grown! And to hammer home the point, comedian Bob Saget—the twins' dad in Full House—makes a clever cameo during this slightly risqué scene.
Mary-Kate and Ashley are a long way from winning Academy Awards, but both file perky, heartfelt portrayals. They recite their trite dialogue with sincerity, and seem to relish flinging barbs at each other and sprinting around New York half-naked. I was prepared to hate them, but they won me over with their professional savvy. Levy overdoes his renegade truant officer, but that's to be expected in this type of film, and the rest of the cast (with the exception of Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond and frizzy-haired Jack Osbourne) fits the wholesome proceedings well.
New York Minute is the first baby step in what is surely a calculated plan by Team Olsen to transition the twins into mature roles. The girls haven't asked for my advice, but because I've watched them on-and-off since they toddled around in diapers, I feel I've earned the right to give it. In short, don't rush the process. Relax, hang on to your niche, and don't stress about stardom. An army of preteen girls hope you never change.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+
Image Transfer Review: Like most recent releases, the widescreen anamorphic transfer of New York Minute remains crisp, vivid, and well-detailed throughout. Colors are nicely saturated, especially a bright red beret Mary-Kate wears for a good portion of the film. At times, however, the image looks a bit too sharp (thanks to a bit of edge enhancement), and blue screen superimposition is very obvious. Skin tones are true, close-ups possess tremendous clarity, and no blemishes sully the pristine print.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The DD 5.1 track plays well across all the speakers, despite a lack of distinct ambient effects. Levels remain balanced, with only a slight fidelity boost during various musical montages, and dialogue is always clear and understandable. Bass frequencies are well integrated and no evidence of distortion could be detected.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Polar Express, Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, A Cinderella Story
2 Alternate Endings
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Layers Switch: 28m:41s
Mary-Kate and Ashley's Behind-the-Scenes Slide Show runs three minutes and cannot be navigated with the remote. A few dozen color stills—including both posed publicity shots and casual candids—comprise the show, which is set to Simple Plan's Vacation. The film's original theatrical trailer completes the extras package.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsWhen picking a flick for Family Movie Night, you could do a lot worse than New York Minute. Adults can endure it with a minimum of teeth-grinding, while kids will get a kick out of the big city antics and slapstick humor. A solid transfer and a few decent extras make this sweet, fast-paced, and occasionally funny film a good bet for a rental.
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