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"New York Minute"

Directed by Dennie Gordon ("What a Girl Wants").
Written by Emily Fox, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage. 
Starring Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Andy Richter and Eugene Levy.
Release Year:  2004 
Review Date:  5/17/04


Here's what it is about seeing so many mainstream films:  eventually, you'll see them all if you go to the movies three times a week.

So it was this fair Monday night, as my choices at the local multiplex were slim.  I have seen every wide release out, save for "Ella Enchanted", "Godsend" and..."New York Minute."  I considered going indie, but there's this theater five minutes from my house, and I just couldn't resist the chance to see just how bad the Olsen Twins would do with feature film fare, since I think they have been doing mostly calendars and straight-to-video work over the last four years.  And hey, I haven't been able to dedicate a Bellview this year to my boy Aaron "Deep Fat Fryer" Katzman, maybe the biggest Olsen Twins fan I know.

Aaron's probably already seen this film, but don't you make the same mistake.  Dogshit through and through, "New York Minute" is the story of single-parent polar opposite kids Jane (Ashley Olsen) and Roxie (Mary-Kate Olsen) and their quest to somehow get to a speech at Columbia University and a video shoot near Columbus Circle, respectively.  Hijinks ensue as the girls face disaster after disaster, including being on the run from a truancy officer (Eugene Levy), evading a hitman (Andy Richter), and trying to beat the clock by making their way from somewhere north of town to their dates with destiny.

"New York Minute", actually, is almost exactly like "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"...except that in "New York Minute", every single fucking thing sucks.  I'm still not sure why anyone thinks the Olsen Twins are attractive--their teen queen mates Lindsay Lohan, Mandy Moore, Jena Malone and Anne Hathaway, to name a few, are all more camera-friendly--and worse, they make any sane adult fear for the twins' dining habits every time they are shown walking from one side of the screen to the other.  Seriously, there are scenes where I thought that in the case of Ashley, if the camera adds pounds to how you really look, does she weigh less than 90 pounds?  Certainly, she weighs less than 100 pounds, and when she is accidentally splashed by a suspiciously-placed puddle, I thought she was going to be knocked to the ground.  A scene near the end of the flick where the twins are walking down some steps hand-in-hand, I almost couldn't watch, it was so tense; EAT, for chrissakes! 

The twins' acting coach was apparently on vacation during the shoot, because director Dennie Gordon (the veteran TV director that gave us "Joe Dirt") doesn't seem to be doing too much with his leads here on his own, and even more surprising to me (an Olsen Twins virgin), the twosome have almost no onscreen charisma, nothing that makes them watchable even if the things around them are awful.  Say what you will about The Rock, or Lohan, or Vin Diesel in terms of their movies...but, they are infinitely watchable, and the Olsen Twins don't even have that going for them.

And, as bad as the twins are, everything else around them is worse.  The script is bad; really bad at times.  It also subtracts logic for anyone even paying attention--sometimes it takes forever for the two girls to cross the street, but they can make it from 125th on the East Side to Times Square in 10 minutes in daytime traffic.  Extras constantly look at the camera.  Levy is a featured player here, but somehow he is unfunny for a full film running time.  Richter goes down with the ship here, but he does get a chuckle or two at the expense of Asian-Americans everywhere...take that as you will.  The "hardcore" rock band that Roxie idolizes isn't very good; the two love interests (I don't even remember their names now) of the twins come off as though they are trying not to laugh while reciting their horrifically-written lines; the token black sequence in "New York Minute" features the shittiest black gay character in the brief history of black gay characters, almost as if someone had watched those two movie critics that Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier played on "In Living Color" and thought it would make for a funny movie character.

Jeez.  The one good thing "New York Minute" does have going for it is that it is short; at about 85 minutes, at least it's over quickly.  Man, what a piece of fucking shit.

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09