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NEW YORK MINUTE

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Mary Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Eugene Levy, Andy Richter, Jared Padalecki, Riley Smith
Director: Dennie Gordon
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Stereo
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 91 Minutes
Release Date: August 27, 2004

Film ***

I wish that I could sum up all of the wonderful things about this movie in a New York Minute, however, you’ll just have to settle for a Jacksonville five!  No, not the Jackson Five, silly reader…they would take a lifetime to sum up!

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (insert subliminal message: they’re 18 now), who rose to stardom at the tender age of 9 months old on the ABC sitcom Full House, really have grown up. 

Identical twins Roxy and Jane Ryan couldn’t be more different than night and day!  Roxy is a free spirit rocker chick-wannabee, who is a virtual master at skipping school and avoiding the truant officers.  On the flip side of the coin, studious sister Jane is so anal retentive, she has color-coded sticky notes to keep track of her sticky notes!

Jane’s goal in life is to win a scholarship that will take her far, far away from her identical other half!  If she’s going to achieve her heart’s desire, Jane has got to be in downtown New York by 3:00 PM.  Meanwhile, Roxy needs to get to the Simple Plan video shoot so she can distribute her band’s demo CD to the suits that will be attending!  And yes, you would be correct in assuming that the video shoot is happening in downtown New York.

When the sisters accidentally get involved in a music and movie pirating scam, your funny bone will never be the same, and neither will their relationship!

Bueller, Bueller, Bueller!!!   Okay, this film is not an identical match to the 1986 hit Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but extremely similar.  Roxy is a mastermind at skipping school, Ferris was a mastermind at skipping school.  Eugene Levy roams New York city attempting to bring Roxy to justice for her truancy,  Ferris’s principal roamed around Chicago trying to bring Bueller to justice.   As if that’s not enough to connect these two films, Roxy and Jane get caught on camera by a TV crew at the Simple Plan video shoot.  The footage is then played on the afternoon newscast, which their father is only halfway paying attention to.  I don’t know about you, but that was eerily reminiscent of the baseball scene in FBDO where Ferris catches the ball and his dad almost sees him on TV.   My point, you ask?  Well, if you are going to take the time to make a film, be original!  I don’t want to see something that has already been done before…I want new, fresh, and exciting entertainment! 

I’m finished ranting now, back to the reviewing! 

I have to admit that I’ve never really given the Olsen twins that much thought.  Sure they have been on TV and video for the last 18 years, but so have re-runs of M*A*S*H, and I’ve never given it a second glance either.

However, I have to give these girls the credit they deserve.  Not only have they been acting since their days in a playpen, but at the tender age of 18, when most kids are worrying about what college they want to go to, these twins have their own production company, Dualstar entertainment.  The Olsens have even invaded Wal-Mart with there own cosmetic and clothing line.   On top of all this, they are listed as the producers of this and many other movies featuring (gasp) themselves! 

Having said all that, I’m not extremely impressed with their acting ability.  They are beautiful girls, with a HUGE future ahead of them.  However, they still have some work to do, if they ever want Oscar coming over for a permanent visit!

What helps New York Minute stand out in my mind is the awesome support these girls received from their fellow thespians.  For example, there is probably not a teenager out there who doesn’t know who Eugene Levy is!  It was his role as Jim’s dad in American Pie that really thrust Levy back into the limelight in my opinion.  You can’t go wrong with an icon like him leading the supporting cast.

Now when you have two hot girls, you have got to have some extremely hot guys!  Enter Jared Padalecki and Riley Smith, who really helped round out this overly feminine film.  Padalecki is still what I would consider an up-and-coming actor.  He has all the right elements; he just hasn’t found that one project that will show whether or not he is capable of holding his own in the big arena.   Padalecki was ready and raring to go when he was chosen to star in a new series the WB was putting together called Young MacGyver.  However, that project never got very far off the ground before it was scrapped.   Keep your eyes on this guy, because I have no doubt we’ll be seeing his face popping up more and more in the very near future.

Riley Smith has been all over the map.  I knew when I was watching this film that he seemed very familiar.   After some online research I realized why.  Smith’s TV resume is definitely something to take notice of, Freaks & Geeks, Birds Of Prey, CSI, Boston Public, 24, as well as a guest spot on this summers sleeper hit Summerland!  His movie credits are even better!  This kid is also one to put on your watch list of future leading men! 

And last but certainly not least is the Ex-Conan O’Brian sidekick Andy Richter.  Richter plays the #1 adopted son of MA!  Ma is the head of a gang selling pirated movies and music.   Her #1 adopted son is very much American but insists on talking with a Japanese accent!  Richter’s character spends all his time following the twins around New York trying to get back a microchip that was accidentally placed in Roxy’s handbag.    

I haven’t had much exposure to Richter other than his stint on Late Night with Conan O’Brian.  However, I give him high praise for his work on this film. Richter was able to balance out the confused humor of Eugene Levy’s character with some racially confused humor of his own.   He also added a certain slapstick element to this film, which was needed.   If he has a stand up comedy show of his own I would definitely love to see it.  I’m sure it would be a laugh a minute!

So the moral of this story is, if you loved the film Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, just give Ferris an identical twin that is the exact opposite of him, and transplant them from Chicago to New York!   Not an identical match story wise, but close enough to definitely connect the dots!

Video ***

The video quality on this DVD was among some of the best I have ever seen.  The 1.85:1 Anamorphic transfer was crisp and clean with no visible artifacting.  The colors were very vivid and stood out very nicely against the concrete jungle that is New York City.  Quality like this is something we’ve all come to expect from DVDs now that the digital age is upon us full force, and this DVD delivers.

Audio ***

The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix on this DVD was nearly flawless.  There were no variations in the audio levels throughout the film, or the extra features.  I have to give this DVD some high praise in the audio department.  Not only was the soundtrack wonderful, the mix between music bed and dialogue never once bled over and caused any distortion.  Great mix, good music, and the dialogue wasn’t half bad either…all in all, a wonderful audible experience!

Features **1/2

I am so happy…finally, a DVD with plenty of extras to write about!

There were tons of bloopers and outtakes that had me laughing so hard I was snorting milk out my nose.  Scary thing is, I wasn’t drinking milk at the time…hmm! 

Two different alternate endings are available to show you how things could have been.  Personally, I think the ending they chose to use worked much better with the tone of the film! 

There’s a making of featurette that takes you behind the scenes with interviews from the stars as well as the supporting cast.  Along with that is an Olsen twins exclusive, featuring behind the scenes still shots from their personal collection.

The original theatrical trailer is available, along with language options in English and French.  Subtitles in English, French, and Spanish wind down this DVDs extra feature clock!  

Summary:

Double the pleasure, double the fun, a New York Minute never lasted this long!!  Okay, bad rhyming on my part, but awesome presentation, delivery, and packaging on the part of Warner Bros.  So don’t waste a minute…grab your copy before time runs out!!

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