It goes without saying that "New York Minute" will likely only appeal to the film's target audience of tween-age Olsen Twins fans, and not anyone over the age of 15. The two twins have made a fortune off of direct-to-video fare, but this is their first big-screen effort (Oh wait, how could I forget "It Takes Two"), and they've managed to wrangle in a series of very noteworthy comedic talents to co-star. Do these talents seem a bit embarassed? Sure, but they still give it a shot.
The film concerns twins Jane and Roxy (played by the Olsens), who are two very different sisters. Jane is an uppity academic, seeking to compete for a scholarship to Oxford. Roxy is a punk (well, about as punk as an Olsen twin can be - Avril Lavigne is referenced in a speech by Roxy late in the film as a "famous Canadian professor") seeking to break into a music video shoot in order to get her band's demo to the A & R people in the hopes that they can be the band's opening act.
Meanwhile, the two girls fall into a series of disasters when they find themselves in the middle of New York with a truant officer (Eugene Levy) and a hitman who thinks he's Chinese (Andy Richter, consistently humiliated throughout the film), the latter after the girls because a computer chip has fallen into their hands, unknown to them.
The film's humor is surprisingly raunchy for a movie targeted to teens. While the innuendos aren't terribly extreme, there are a few bits that seemed over-the-top, including one moment where a senator's son finds the twins in his hotel room wearing only robes and shaking their hair in slo-mo. The guy inquires, "Is it my birthday?". Upon falling window washer's rig, one of the twins gets their top snagged and loses it as she falls into a trash bin. Directly after, the two run across Manhattan - one in a bathrobe and the other in a towel. The film's last-minute messages of the importance of sisters watching over and being there for each other seems like a bit too much of an afterthought and even gets a little nauseating.
In an attempt to jazz up the proceedings, director Dennie Gordon throws in a series of flashy edits, including some "24"-esque split screens at one point - doesn't exactly work wonders. The Olsen twins aren't going to win any awards for their acting here, although they do what's required, given the material. The film's co-stars fare decently - Levy gets a few laughs as the security guard, but his performance also occasionally veers into creepiness. Richter's racially insensitive character and humilating performance means he'd better hope his new series "Quintuplets" goes awfully well. Andrea Martin ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), Jack Osborne (as Roxy's band manager) and "SNL"'s Darryl Hammond also appear. Bob Saget (the Olsen's father on "Full House") also shows up for a couple seconds.
"New York Minute" passed by uneventfully; at least the picture moved along at a fairly rapid clip and had more going on than the couple of direct-to-video efforts I'd had to review prior. Still, one would hope that if these two ever hope to be taken seriously as actresses that they'll try next time around to seek out considerably better material.
VIDEO: "New York Minute" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality does appear a little shaky in the opening quarter of the film, with a little bit of edge enhancement and light traces of pixelation, but the remainder of the film looked crisp and clear.
Sharpness and detail remained fairly good throughout the proceedings, with only a couple of wide shots appearing slightly softer. Aside from the previously mentioned faults early on, the picture looked clean. Colors appeared natural and well-saturated, with no noticable issues.
SOUND: "New York Minute" is presented by Warner Brothers in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's sound mix is fairly unimaginative, and things largely stick to the front speakers. Despite the fact that the girls are running through the streets for much of the movie, the surrounds really don't kick in anything in the way of ambience. Audio quality seemed fine, as the music seemed well-recorded, if lacking punch; dialogue was clear and easily understood.
EXTRAS: A fairly funny gag reel has Levy cracking up himself and Osbourne, the twins missing lines and the crew working with some malfunctioning props; a pair of alternate endings worked for me a bit better than the final one; a 14-minute "making of" is also offered, along with the trailer and a photo gallery.
Final Thoughts: "New York Minute" didn't appeal to me that much, although certainly I'm not in the target audience. Obviously, the fan-base for the Twins will be excited for the DVD and it's not a bad one, with a few supplements and fine audio/video quality. Still, there may be some things within "New York Minute" that parents will want to discuss with younger viewers.
The Film **