Review: New York Minute

It’s depressing that New York Minute’s ideology is being pitched toward impressionable youth.

New York Minute
Photo: Warner Bros.

Dennie Gordon’s New York Minute is a feature-length Stuff magazine cover starring the barely legal Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as sparring twin sisters, Roxy and Jane Ryan, set loose on a lowbrow, farcical journey through New York City (often doubled, unconvincingly, by Toronto). The young ladies find themselves caught up in a festering carcass of a plot better left to the vultures who’ll blindly patronize this monstrosity.

Instead, let’s focus on the film’s reductive mindset, which posits a world where two privileged white girls are hunted by software-pirating Asians, criticized by convenience store-running Arabs, primped and pampered by sassy black hairdressers, and ogled by a near-pedophilic truant officer (Eugene Levy), all in the aid of achieving their scholarly and monetary American dreams. It plays like a faux Dr. Seuss poem featuring the Hilton sisters and composed in secret by illegal substance-fueled dirty minds. Call it Every Race Has Their Place.

It’s depressing that New York Minute is being pitched toward impressionable youth, though not at all surprising when one considers the isolationist and abstinence-driven culture from which it spawned. Revelatory of our collective ignorance and fear of “otherness,” the film is as dishonest about sex as it is about race. Recalling the old Buster Keaton gag where a hand covers the camera lens as a woman steps out of the bathtub (minus Keaton’s profound satirical import), New York Minute continually places the Olsens in skimpy outfits and easily removed towels, always framing their their holiest of holies off screen in a cruel tsk-tsk fashion that reeks of misguided puritanism. The film is an evasion of complex truth through the teasing of objectified lies, all in the name of an ill-advised, peculiarly American morality.

Score: 
 Cast: Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Andy Richter, Jared Padalecki, Riley Smith, Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy  Director: Dennie Gordon  Screenwriter: Bill Collage, Adam Cooper, Emily Fox  Distributor: Warner Bros.  Running Time: 91 min  Rating: PG  Year: 2004  Buy: Video, Soundtrack

Keith Uhlich

Keith Uhlich is a writer living in Brooklyn. His work has been published in The Hollywood Reporter, BBC, and Reverse Shot, among other publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle.

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