EV @ The Movies: New York Minute
I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard that the Olsen twins were finally making a full-length feature film. After all, they're getting older now, and it's getting to be that time when they shouldn't have to limit themselves to direct-to-video releases that have to have a family-friendly rating. Even when I saw the commercials for the movie that said it was rated PG, I didn't let myself get worried; they let anything slide these days, after all. But I'm sorry to say that this movie really restricts the girls from the maturity they should be able to show, and will legally be able to show in 27 days, nine hours, and 18 minutes.
The movie begins with promise: the two girls play estranged sisters who both have to be in New York at the beginning of the day; Jane (the classic over-achiever) to deliver a very important speech so she can get into Oxford, and Roxy (an aspiring rock star) to deliver a demo tape to some record executives on the set of a video shoot. Eventually, they end up together, and have all kinds of raucous adventures throughout the day.
Now, I know what you're thinking, and believe me, I was thinking the same thing: these character roles allow a whole bunch of room for the girls to discover their maturity in unique ways. For example, Jane could have some experiences with a young man or two (or even an older man -- we can still be attractive too, girls!) that show her that being uptight all the time about school might not be the best thing to do, and that it might also be fun to go to an Oxford University party or two and experiment with alcohol a little bit, causing her to lose her better judgment and partake in some student life activities. And Roxy, upon reaching the video shoot, could see the attractive punk-rockers Simple Plan and realize that there are more important things in the world than adding to the painfully stupid pop-punk scene, like becoming a groupie that has the unique job of taking care of the band members after shows and anytime else they need it. These things are easy for me to think of, and I'm not even a Hollywood script writer! But sadly, the girls did not pursue any of these avenues in the film.
It was all made even more frustrating because there were moments that could've turned into great opportunities for maturity, but instead were just silly. For example, in one scene, the girls somehow manage to get themselves locked out, and are forced to traverse the city in only robes and towels. Hello? There are millions of possibilities here for a career-making mature plot twist! A Marilyn Monroe moment above the subway with a kind middle-aged man down below, looking up through the vent and shaking his head in amusement; a scene involving the girls luring a lonely shopkeeper away from his store so they can procure some clothing; or even a scene where the girls realize they have everything they could ever desire right in front of them -- in each other. Do any of these things happen? Of course not. The girls run around a bit, but the robes never even slip.
I was also cruelly tantalized by Dr. Drew Pinsky's role as the girls' father. In case you didn't know, Dr. Drew also hosts a radio call-in show in real life about sexual advice. I thought to myself, "Now why would they cast a sex doctor if they didn't plan on using his sexual advice somehow?" I imagined a scene where one of the girls went to him, frightened and confused about the new feelings she was experiencing, and him gently encouraging her to realize that these feelings are natural, and that there's no need to hide them, or even try to suppress them for the rest of the movie. This could have been a poignant, important moment in the movie, and one that probably could've won the girls an Oscar or two. Instead, Dr. Drew just had some lines like, "Hey, I'm your father, girls, and I'm not telling you about sex at all!"
This movie had potential to be something ground-breaking for the girls, and for many of their fans around the world, like myself. But Hollywood decided to force them to opt for the safe way out, and make a traditional script that still treats the girls like 12 year-olds with undeveloped bodies. I bet that if left to their own devices, the twins, desperately desiring maturity, would create a film to knock everyone's socks off; instead, Hollywood has spoiled it. Thanks a lot, you California jerks. I would use the Internet to start a petition against you if I wasn't currently using it to download something else right now.
Overall Rating: D-
Special thanks to our guest reviewer, an enthusastic middle-aged Olsen twins fan who does not wish to be identified by name. If you liked his column, he asks that you let us know, so that he can write more about the Olsen twins.