Making the Grades
Reigning queens of small screen entertainment, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have built a formidable entertainment empire with TV shows and direct-to-video happy tales about going off to grandmother's house and having kiddie parties. Now Dualstar Productions (the twins' appropriately named company) is reaching out to claim seats in a theater near you.
One thing these girls have learned from experience is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." That means you shouldn't come to New York Minute expecting to see anything much different than the other twenty-odd ?MK&A? videos they've made. In Olsen-land, happy endings aren't just expected, they're part of the product guarantee.
As in most of their films, the sisters play twins--in this case to a widower who somehow had the foresight to name his rebellious daughter Roxy (Mary-Kate) and his obedient daughter Jane (Ashley). Unfortunately, he isn't smart enough to realize Roxy has been skipping school in favor of playing in a local band. At the same time Jane is preparing for a life-changing speech she will present in New York City in the hopes of winning a scholarship to Oxford University.
When Dad goes off to work, Jane gets on the train and Roxy follows, intending to meet up with her favorite punk band, Simple Plan, and drop them a demo tape. Ironically, the group's name proves to be a sarcastic foreshadowing of what should have been a straightforward day in NYC. With an overzealous truant officer (Eugene Levy) following Roxy's every move, and a strange man named Bennie (Andy Richter) tracking them in connection to a mysterious microchip, there's only one thing we know for sure: each of these girls will find a cool dude to hold hands with before the day is through.
Not surprisingly, this movie targets the family market, with the female "tweens" crowd as their bull's-eye. Thankfully, parents have little to be concerned about in the typical content areas. A couple of religious exclamations and some slapstick violence are all that clutter the usual message of family harmony. And although these girls are always on the look for "cute guys," there is nothing to suggest off-screen sexual relations.
However, as in some past Olsen outings, the script provides ample opportunity to display the twins in skimpy attire. This time the girls are shown running through Manhattan--one in a towel and the other in a bathrobe. Even more of an issue is another common feature of many of their films: a complete oversight of any natural consequences. Hunky young men earn far more respect than parents, and Roxy's disinterest in getting an education is never addressed. Unfortunately, while appearing wholesome on the outside, those messages will be the ones that come through loud and clear within this New York Minute.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about New York Minute.
The Olsen twins have proven to be a powerful force in the lives of many young girls. Their clothing, cosmetics, and other licensed consumer goods are very popular and well accepted. What kind of effect do you think this pre-selling of Mary-Kate and Ashleys image may have on those same young people who see their movies?
This film has some obvious stereotypes. Why are crooks often portrayed as foreigners? What type of person is the truant officer?
Could Roxy still pursue her music aspirations without being dishonest with her father? Have you ever wanted to do something you didnt think your parents would approve of? Have they ever surprised you when youve asked them for their opinion?