Today is the biggest day in the super-organized life of uptight overachiever Jane Ryan. She's due to give a major speech at Columbia University for a competition to win a prestigious scholarship to Oxford University. Meanwhile, her rebellious sister Roxy is planning to ditch school and go backstage at a Simple Plan music video shoot in Manhattan, where she'll slip her demo tape to the band's A & R team. Despite having so little in common and so much emotional distance between them, the adversarial sisters reluctantly journey together to the Big Apple, but their plans go wildly awry when a mix-up involving Jane's all-important dayplanner lands them in the middle of a shady black market music piracy scheme. Sidetracked, sideswiped and hotly pursued from Chinatown to Harlem by whacked-out truancy officer and a wannabe gangster, Jane and Roxy reluctantly join forces and find unexpected romance with a charming Senator's son and a handsome bike messenger. If Jane doesn't recover her dayplanner--and the crucial speech inside it--she can kiss her college scholarship goodbye. If Lomax finally catches up with Roxy, she'll be drummed out of high school for good. Roxy and Jane seem to have everything going against them--but anything can change in a New York Minute!
Parents dreading the prospect of being dragged by their children to this latest installment in the Olsen sisters' campaign of world domination should take heart — at least somewhat. This teenage caper comedy, in which Mary-Kate and Ashley, playing twin sisters, sprint through Manhattan on the run from a truant officer (Eugene Levy) and a limo driver (Andy Richter) is crisp and professional. It is not too syrupy and not overly obnoxious, though the squeaky-clean perkiness of the sisters can wear you down (and also, in Ashley's scenes of teasing, semi-nudity, creep you out). But luckily, and above all, it is short. — A. O. Scott
2004-05-07 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of New York Minute