Unless you're a teenage girl you may not have heard of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the 18-year-old US twins who made their TV debuts at nine months and now head their own multi-million dollar
clothing/video/publishing empire. It was only a matter of time before they made the leap to the silver screen, and the result is New York Minute: a hectic, overcooked sugar rush of a movie that finds them taking a big bite out of the Big Apple.
The picture hardly devoured the American box office, taking a piffling $6.2m in its opening weekend. Still, the siblings have enough UK fans to make this a solid if unspectacular earner, while any grown-ups dragged along will at least have Eugene Levy to help them through the tedium.
The identical sisters play - guess what? - identical sisters, albeit with contrasting personalities. Jane (Ashley) is an uptight swot whose life revolves around her Filofax, while Roxy (Mary-Kate) is a grungy rebel. Both are headed for Manhattan: Jane to vie for a scholarship, Roxy to crash a
video shoot. But they don't reckon on Max Lomax (Levy), a crazed truancy officer intent on bringing Roxy down.
The teen hijinks that ensue will seem depressingly familiar to everyone who saw director Dennie Gordon's last effort, What A Girl Wants, while it's hard not to feel some discomfort at the way Chinese and black stereotypes are wheeled out for comic effect. What really scuppers this caper, though, are the bad guys. Heroin dealers? White slave traders? No kids, much worse than that: they're video pirates! It's enough to make
you bring a camcorder along, just out of spite.
New York Minute is released in UK cinemas on Friday 30th July 2004.