A review of “New York Minute” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: ***

Rating: PG for mild sexuality and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes



Don’t call them the Olsen twins.  Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have publicly expressed their desire to be regarded as separate entities, actress/pitch-girl/multi-millionaresses with unique personalities starring in their first “adult” movie. Separated at birth or not, they make it work.

Ashley and M-K play polar opposites, fearlessly marching to different drummers.  Products of a deceased mother and an over-worked neglectful dad (Drew Pinsky), the sisters are estranged to the breaking point. Jane is an uptight, germ-phobic intellectual who lives for her color-coded day planner and dreams of an Oxford fellowship.  Roxanne is her mirror image in looks only, a rock-drummer truant who’s too cool for school and anxious to get her band’s demo tape into the hands of a hot producer.

One day will change everything.  On the morning of Jane’s big scholarship presentation at Manhattan’s Colombia University, she hitches a ride with Roxy to the station. One snafu segues into the next – mistaken identities that have them thrown from the train, a computer chip slipped into Roxy’s bag by a DVD-pirating thief, and a Senator’s filched Chinese Crested who offers questionable canine companionship.

Roller-coaster ride cum comedy of errors sums it up.  Overachiever Jane is on the run from baddies who want to retrieve their chip (Andy Richter doing bad Chinese adoptee Bennie Bang) and Roxy is dodging nerdy Nassau county truant officer Max Lomax (the always engaging Eugene Levy), whose career apex will be nabbing the serial school-skipper.

There are rough spots, and a seemingly desperate desire to give the girls a more sophisticated image by accentuating their burgeoning sexuality and hooking them up with cute boyfriends before their ninety minutes is up.

  But the Olsens aren’t a commercial juggernaut for nothing.  Their charm is evident in every frame, from racing through the streets of NYC swathed in bathtowels (you had to be there) to their impromptu makeover montage at the House of Bling. The sibs pull off their classic confrontation with surprising credibility and pathos – I’m moved to say I was moved.

There’s no doubt that the Olsens have got it going on. Joining forces to overcome adversity shouts out a substantial sense of Girl Power to a large and loyal fan base that can officially count me as one of their number.