New York Minute

on May 07, 2004 by Paul Clinton
After a brisk opening half-hour, "New York Minute's" promising start devolves into a parade of chase and slapstick bits you've seen a dozen times before.

Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, the wonder-twins of an entertainment empire that exceeds $1 billion in annual sales, star in their first theatrical feature (we're not counting the 1995 Steve Guttenberg headliner "It Takes Two," are we?), following almost two dozen direct-to-video offerings.

Here, Mary-Kate, as rocker Roxy Ryan, and Ashley, as prissy Jane Ryan, play two disparate, on-the-go sisters living in New York. Set during a hectic day in their lives--Roxy is headed to a Simple Plan concert, while Jane must deliver an important speech--the movie follows the girls along an obstacle course of misadventures.

Director Dennie Gordon ("What a Girl Wants") keeps up the momentum with tight pacing and a zooming camera. Sadly, fewer jokes hit than miss. When screenwriters resort to slapstick with fire escapes and open city dumpsters, the comic ideas have dried up.

For their parts, the Olsen twins prove to be able actresses. Their chemistry makes them a good comic pairing, and they even show off some acting ability in a late scene with just the right amount of sentiment.

Eugene Levy is put to good use as an Ed Rooney-style truant officer chasing the girls. The brilliantly funny Andrea Martin is terribly underutilized as a Senator. Andy Richter, Conan O'Brien's former sidekick, appears to have walked in from an old Charlie Chan serial. Richter is begging with this white-man-mimicking-Asian shtick. Starring Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Eugene Levy and Andy Richter. Directed by Dennie Gordon. Written by Emily Fox, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage. Produced by Denise Di Novi, Robert Thorne, Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen. A Warner Bros. release. Comedy. Rated PG for mild sensuality and thematic elements. Running time: 91 min

Tags: New York City, Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Dr. Drew, Drew Pinsky, Dennie Gordon, Eugene Levy, Andy Richter, Andrea Martin, teen

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