Prayer Focus
Movie Review

New York Minute

MPAA Rating: PG for mild sensuality and thematic elements

Reviewed by: Ken Goding
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Pre-teen girls
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 26 min.
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
______
Featuring: Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Eugene Levy, Andy Richter, Darrell Hammond
Director: Dennie Gordon (What a Girl Wants; Joe Dirt)
Producer: Denise DiNovi, Robert Thorne
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Relevant Issues

Why are people supposed to wear clothes? Answer

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“New York Minute” is a day’s adventure involving teenage twins who get wrapped up in a whole lot of mess in a hurry. Jane Ryan (played by Ashley Olsen) simply wants to get to the right place at the right time in order to give a speech, hoping that it will win her a scholarship to Oxford University—far, far away from her twin sister Roxy (played by Mary-Kate Olsen), who just wants to have as much fun as possible, and skip school as much as possible. There is a big rift between them that occurred when their mother died, and since then their relationship hasn’t quite been that of hatred, but they aren’t exactly friends either. This particular morning they head out together as Roxy has once again managed to get out of school, and their adventure begins.

Hot on their heels is Max Lomax (Eugene Levy), a truancy officer who thinks he’s all that when he really isn’t, especially since Roxy has been making him look bad for several years now. This day he is determined to end Roxy’s truancy once and for all, no matter the cost.

Separate from this, local music and video pirates use Roxy as an unwitting accomplice to protect a computer chip containing enough MP3s for them to make millions of dollars. When they fail to get the chip back from her through Benny Bang (Andy Richter), he is also determined to catch them at any cost.

The plot thickens even more when a little dog eats the chip as a snack, and Benny obtains super-organized Jane’s day planner, which she needs back at any cost. The web of mischief gets more and more tangled as time goes on, until finally something big becomes necessary for everything to become untangled.

Morally this movie has some issues that need to be contemplated. While it doesn’t exceed the PG rating, it has some areas that, particularly in a deeper sense, are not good and wholesome. The good news is that the language wasn’t a big issue. The worst that I heard was a whispered “Oh my God,” definitely used in vain. Everything else was fairly mild, and I probably missed it anyway, although Lomax wasn’t always the nicest in the way he talked to other people. There are two rock concerts, one public and one private, though I couldn’t really make out the words. I heard “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am” and little else, but judging by that I’m sure it didn’t have very high standards.

Violence wasn’t a huge thing, but there was a bit. The girls have a fight with Benny Bang (mopping the floor with him) when they could have easily found a way to give him the slip, judging by some of their other escapes. Benny also is urinated on by the dog when he attempts to get the chip back through forced vomiting. Roxy is physically thrown out of a subway train onto the ground when she can’t produce either a ticket or money to pay for her trip, and Lomax hits the ground, as well, while attempting to crowd surf (pretty good Moses impression there, parting a sea of people).

There are some mildly scary images involving the girls on the ledge of a tall building and then falling by way of a window washer’s rig which eventually throws them into a dumpster. There is also a car chase on the streets of New York City with plenty of close calls and non-human objects being hit, with a non-licensed driver at the wheel of an old taxi. Other than that there isn’t too much, some minor things that would take too much space to mention.

Sensuality is where I have the biggest issues with New York Minute, because there is entirely too much and it really didn’t have to happen at all. The movie begins with a dream about being in front of a crowd naked, but doesn’t technically show any nudity, which is the case throughout. Besides the shower scene, both girls ended up without any regular clothes on for a few minutes after they snuck into someone else’s hotel room to clean up, then were discovered. Roxy wass shown in a bathrobe, which isn’t too bad, but Jane had only a towel to cover up, showing the top of her breasts. While wandering the streets of New York like this, a collision with a guy on a bike ended with him on top of Jane in her towel, entirely too suggestive.

Fortunately both girls were back into normal clothes soon, and there was nothing more for a while. Other than kissing, there is a dancing scene in a “booty” shop where people were shown gyrating their hips, often from behind.

When you get into the messages portrayed by this movie, especially from the eyes of a Christian, it gets much deeper than the surface violence and sensuality. Simply put, it makes the twins the heroines who will do anything to achieve their goals, whether or not it is morally right. Sneaking into the hotel room to clean up seems all right in light of the mess Jane was, and the chase scene is sympathetic to them as they run from Lomax the truancy officer. Lomax himself is made out to be a bad guy when in reality he is trying to do his job, although his delusions of grandeur don’t help his image any.

Both girls start out without a boyfriend, yet each manage to pick up one by the end of the day, barely even knowing them. It seems that being good looking matters a whole lot more than character, although both guys did seem to be pretty nice at least on the surface.

Roxy’s reason for skipping school is to go to the public rock concert and hopefully get the band to look at her own band, hardly making her truancy justifiable. To the girls’ credit they do realize that the computer chip contains pirated music eventually, and henceforth look on Benny Bang as a criminal rather than just a mean man.

As a male I am deeply troubled by Jane in a towel because it has the tendency to make one think about what is underneath it, even more than, say, a bikini. Lust is far too big of a problem to be fed like that, particularly with a beautiful and famous actress like Ashley Olsen. Insinuating nudity doesn’t help either as it can create a longing for the camera to move just a little farther down or up depending on what is being shown. Granted, this isn’t going to be a big deal for most female viewers, since they generally won’t be moved the same way as a male, but I can’t recommend “New York Minute” to any male who might find this a problem, especially teenagers.

Why are people supposed to wear clothes? Answer

On the whole, I can’t really say that I enjoyed the movie, even being a casual fan of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (by way of my girlfriend, who wasn’t thrilled either, though a much bigger fan than I am). As a comedy it did make me laugh a few times, but I spent more time wishing I didn’t have to see things than I did laughing. The acting was all right, and the movie well made (in the technical realm), but the plot was a little too complicated and unrealistic. If you’re a big fan of the Olsens, you’re probably going to watch it regardless of what I think, but otherwise, I’d recommend that you skip it.

Violence: Fairly mild and somewhat comic / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Revealing and thought provoking for guys

Viewer Comments
Neutral—This movie was just OK. My 13 year old daughter liked it, but I thought the acting was not too good! I know some movies have goofy bad guys, but the bad guys in this one were just too goofy. The whole movie was pretty silly and I could have waited till it came out on video.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/2]
—V. Masters, age 49
Positive—This is an average-rated film. Not good but not bad, either. Some light sensuality disturbed me (i.e. the girls running around in a towel and bathrobe, respectively) as well as taking the Lord’s name in vain. However, there was no sex or violence, etc. etc. It was good clean fun but it failed to address Roxy Ryan’s truancy and why it is important to stay in school.
My Ratings: [Average/3]
—Shannon Hammell, age 22
Positive—I think that the Olsen twins did an excellent job at being good examples for their fans (most of which are under 13) and being able to show the media world that the have grown up. I took my 11 year old niece and her mother, and we all were able to laugh at the same jokes… which is something you rarely find in the mixed media bowl of today.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4]
—Martha Blander, age 43
Negative—Stupid. Just don’t see it, okay? If you think it would be a good thing for your child to see 18 year old girls acting the same way they did 10 years ago, that’s your choice. But if you want them to act normal, this is a no go.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/1]
—Kole G., age 25

Comments from young people
Positive—I liked this movie! Though there was one objectionable part where they go around Ney York City with towels wrapped around them! Other than that a great movie!
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
—Ashley, age 11
Negative—The film, “New York Minute” was Definitely not my favorite. I wasn’t much for the fact that the Olsens are portrayed as sexual girls. It very much disappointed me. My younger sister adores them, and most of the sexual comments that were made went over her head. The plot was also Extremely corny. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen but nothing ever did. Parents, I advise you to allow your children to see, “a Cinderella story.”
My Ratings: [Average/3]
—Sarah, age 13
Positive—…thought it was good. I didn’t like the guy that was chasing them; he seemed really freaky. But besides that, everything else was really good. I would like to buy it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
—Lorraine, age 10
Positive—This movie was really nothing different from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s other movies beside the fact that it is one of their better films. I really didn’t mind seeing this movie with my mom; it was actually a great movie to see with your parents. All of the acting was good and the purpose of the story was great!!
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
—Rebekah Nordine, age 13
Positive—Even though I am a fan of the Olsens, I still wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this movie. Fortunately, I was in for a treat when the lights went down. This was a very funny movie, much better than any of their video releases, and even their other theatrical release, It Takes Two. It was also a very clean movie, as I didn’t find any objectionable material. A perfect film for the family.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Dustin Foree, age 16
Positive—I commend Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen in their latest role in New York Minute. Although some parts were cheesey, for the most part this movie was a big step from their usual movies. The fact that they were barely clothed for most of the movie did not offend me what-so-ever. These girls will be 18 in less than a month. Because the movie has a PG-rating, parents should not feel offended by their performance.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Heather Johnson, age 17
Positive—This movie was swell. I liked the adventure, romance, and family aspects. It was a perfect movie for anyone above the age of 13 because it really brought out the talent of the Olsen Twins. I hope to see more movies of their’s to come.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Amy Onaruf, age 14
Positive—I don’t see why people are always putting this movie down, I liked it a lot. It was a fun movie that I’ll buy when it goes on sale at Wal*mart… it is so much better then I expected to be, and it’s definitely better then any of they’re other movies, people say that there are some bad thing’s about it; well, I’m going to tell you everything so you can judge it for yourself and get all the fact’s, It start’s off with Jane (Ashly) having a nightmare about a speech she has to give to win a scholarship, she’s dream’s she’s naked, but doesn’t show anything, there are a few remark’s, very mild though, such as when Jane get’s her skirt caught on a boy’s bike peddle, and they’re trying to get it off he’s telling her how sorry he is and she say’s that if he can’t get it off then she’ll just take her skirt off, but follow’s it up by, did I just say that out loud, then when she run’s out to a sidewalk there the boy is again and he slam’s on his brakes and fly’s off his bike and on top of her (with a towel on) and he asks her if he’s crushing her, and she say’s yeah, it feel’s great, then at the end she’s telling him good-bye and she’s say’s that it was nice bumping into him, and he say’s yeah we should bump again, but that’s really nothing, then there’s the matter when the girl’s are all messy from all kind’s of stuff, they sneak into someone’s motel room, where Jane takes a shower and Roxy (Mary-kate) wait’s in a bathrobe, then the young boy they’re age comes in and it show’s Roxy flip her hair and then Jane comes out and start’s flipping her around and he ask’s is it my birthday? They’re both very embarrassed though, that’s about it, they said that the girl’s were flaunting their body but I don’t see that, yes they run around New York in a towel and a robe, but there was a reason, and I didn’t think it was that revealing; then they wore normal clothes, I liked the movie a lot and would recommend it to anyone, especially a Mary-Kate
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Michelle, age 14
Movie Critics
…keeps things relatively clean in all the obvious categories, but runs amok everywhere else… they do go to great lengths to point their adoring tween fan base in quite a few wrong directions-and the list doesn’t end with them flaunting their bodies and the titillating idea of three-way necking…
—Steven Isaac, Plugged In
…isn’t High Art, but it is highly entertaining, especially if you’re a member of its target audience… pre-teen and young teen girls…
—Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun review
…The movie opens with …Jane (Ashley) dreaming about appearing naked in public …Later, she and her slacker-punk sister, Roxy (Mary-Kate), scamper through the streets of Manhattan clad, respectively, in a skimpy towel and a bathrobe…
—Scott Foundas, LA Weekly
…innocuous tale of estranged sisters pulling together against comical adversity… flows nicely from one wacky episode to the next…
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…The sisters, for what it’s worth, boast a certain amount of charm… The girls are sweet yet rebellious, chaste yet boy-hungry, pop yet rock…
—Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune
…This mayhem in Manhattan with the Olsen twins earns a D for dumb…
—Melinda Ennis, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
…a transparent attempt to transform the Olsen twins—generally known for troweling out mindless entertainment to 8-year-olds—into viable teen stars… a dual rip-off of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Adventures in Babysitting…
—Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic