New York Minute

Reviewed By Collin Souter
Posted 05/22/04 15:29:50

"Come play with us, Danny...for ever...and ever...and ever...and ever..."
1 stars (Total Crap)

I recently purchased a prototype Olsen Twin (Model # S21-DIVX) off the black market, oh, I would say, about six months ago. I had heard about the new models being more advanced, more sturdy and much, much faster. My last AI malfunctioned as a result of accidentally ingesting a cross pollination apple fritters and Meow Mix. This new black market Olsen Twin would be cheaper, less accident-prone and would definitely take up less space than the just-as-stupid Barbarian Brother I owned a year ago. Like you, I thought you could only see Olsen Twins in cheaply made direct-to-video knock-offs. Not so. You can own a Twin as well and, I must say, when compared to the cheap plastic videocassettes that encase the films, the Olsens themselves are not quite as smart.

Not nearly as reliable, either. No less than two days after I purchased the S21-DIVX prototype, it bailed on me. It woke itself up and decided to have itself an adventure. “That’s it,” I thought. “No more purchasing black market AI bots just because I don’t feel like cleaning the litter box. Sheesh!” Needless to say, I felt ripped off and more than a little embarrassed. I mean, what would the neighbors think if they saw what looks like a 16-year-old girl walking around my house with a plastic scooper in one hand and a hefty bag full of sand in the other? Why, they’d say, “How did he get that? That model’s not due out on the market until 2005!” Don’t get too excited.

Six months later, I went to the multiplex to see a film titled “New York Minute” (See? I was getting to it). Wouldn’t you know it. There, on the screen was my S21-DIVX, one of only two prototypes. Standing next to her was Twin # 2. They were talking. They were moving. They pretended to be sisters. They pretended to have a family. One pretended to be brainy. The other pretended to be into rock and roll. They pretended to be sex objects and rock groupies. One pretended she was going to college. The other pretended she was the school’s biggest troublemaker. “I get it,” I thought. “They’re supposed to be teenagers.”

Recent Olsen Twin models, you’ll remember, accomplished similar feats in the past, but never with this much zeal. The creators of the Olsen Twin model S14-JUNX, if you remember, was created to act as a surrogate “daughter” for couples who wanted to show off at high school reunions that they have indeed “procreated.” The models had pre-programmed lines of dialogue that served two purposes: Cheap, direct-to-video knock-offs and objects of shallow suburbanite show-offs who wanted to bypass the more natural process of conception. Me, I just wanted a machine that would sit in the closet until I needed it to replace the screen doors and Teddy Ruxpin just wasn’t cutting it (who, if you remember, also had a catalog of videos).

Back to the movie. Well…well, just one last thing. Seeing the S21-DIVXes on the big screen made me realize just how creepy and vacant they really look. I think if I did have it sitting in the closet, eventually I would be afraid of the closet. I would bypass the closet the same way Jobeth Williams steered clear of her kid’s bedroom in “Poltergeist.” I wouldn’t want to open the door. I would be too afraid of that moment where I would look at the model, stare at it, wonder at how something could seem so harmless on the surface and yet cause one to quiver in fear…then, suddenly, without warning, its eyes would OPEN and I’d slam the door shut. I’d be better off without it.

Okay, now back to the movie at hand. Ah, yes, “New York Minute.” Personal grievances aside (finally), the movie itself was clearly conceived by the Olsen fan base and their obnoxious little brothers. With a plot that tries to capture that “Ferris Bueller/Adventures In Babysitting/Barton Fink” feeling, “New York Minute” ends up festering the screen with a parade of racial/cultural stereotypes and underage teen “hottie” exploitation which, according the Lisa Breckinridge of FOX-11 L.A., is the stuff of “a movie the whole family can enjoy.” Yeah, the Manson family! (No, I’m not trying to be funny there. I’m just giving you an idea of the level of humor that exists in this film).

Rounding out this “cast” is a who’s-who of non-actors: First, we have Dr. Drew Pinsky as the surrogate father of these two Bits. Now, I like Dr. Drew. I’m a fan of “Loveline,” I admire his work and I’m sure he just did it for his kids. Fine, but isn’t there a crack addict that needs tending to? Next, we have the accent-challenged Jack Osbourne. Do I need to see this kid’s unkempt and unappealing puss on the big screen? Shouldn’t he be at boarding school blowing up toys? Finally, we have faux punk band Simple Plan, who actually figure into the plot (Twin # 1 wants to be in their video). Apparently they have the same agent as SmashMouth (“Goldmember”) and Sugar Ray (“Scooby-Doo”).

Even scarier: There exists some genuine talent here as well. Eugene Levy plays the truancy officer hell-bent on busting Twin # 1 for being too dippy, ditsy and kooky. Andy Richter also shows up in what has to be the most ill-conceived, almost offensive, “character” to appear in a movie this year: An adopted American who thinks he’s Korean, accent and all. His mother is a black marketeer who sells pirated videos and CDs to gullible teenagers (For the record: the black marketeer who sold me the S21-DIVX was none other than Carmine Caridi). Finally, Jared Paladecki of “Gilmore Girls” as one of the Twins’ love interest. I sure hope Amy Sherman Palladino gave him a swift kick in the nuts for this.

Simply put, this is the worst, most uncomfortable and nauseating movie-going experience I’ve had so far this year. I realize this doesn’t come as a shock, considering the source, but I remember the days after “It Takes Two” when we didn’t have to acknowledge the existence of “The Twins.” They would just take up valuable shelf space in the children’s section of my local video store alongside the Beta copies of “Earthbound” (Wait…Did that ever come out on video?) But, now Warner Brothers shamelessly exploits the opportunity to cash in on the pending success of the S21-DIVX before they become “legal” and now we all must suffer.

“Legal,” you ask? Well, that’s the new word for it, I suppose. You see, within the same time span as the release of this film, the prototype Twins made an appearance on Saturday Night Live. Near the end of the show, Twin # 2 looked right in the camera and said, “In two weeks, we’re legal.” I felt relieved. “Thank God they didn’t get smarter,” I thought. My God, if machines grew brains and fought back, what would that lead to? You saw “2001,” “Terminator” and “Electric Dreams.” It’s a scary thought, right? Turns out, the S21-DIVX is just being put on the market earlier than expected. That’s all. Not to worry. The Olsen Twins could never get smarter with every model. They’re just not programmed to. It would be…highly…irregular….

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