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Not worth a ‘New York Minute’ of your time

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen play teens on the run in this film that seems designed to appeal to lecherous older men. By Christy Lemire
/ Source: The Associated Press

In case you hadn’t heard, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen soon turn 18 (and there are Web sites devoted to counting down the days, hours and minutes until that magical moment).

To prove that they’re all grown-up, the multimedia empire formerly known as the Olsen twins — and, like, please don’t call them that anymore, ’cause they want to be viewed as individuals now, ’k? — has put out “New York Minute,” in which the girls play suburban sisters on a big city adventure.

It’s rated PG to appeal to the twins’ tweener fan base, which scoops up any and every M-K & A item, from lip gloss to throw rugs.

But who are we kidding? This movie is really for a male audience. And while that’s as creepy as the online countdown to legality, it’s not as creepy as the movie itself (which comes from the twins’ Dualstar Productions, so apparently they’re totally cool with all this).

One or both of the sisters — usually Ashley — appears naked or runs around Manhattan in nothing but a towel or a flimsy white shirt that’s been splashed with water. And yes, I probably have a dirty mind, but this stuff is pretty obvious.

Where to begin? How about at the beginning, when Ashley’s character, Type-A Jane, is having a bad dream in which she blows an important speech and appears nude in front of the audience. (We only see her bare back and shoulders, but we get the idea.)

While showering later that morning, Jane screams when she realizes the pet boa constrictor of Mary-Kate’s character, aspiring rock star Roxy, has slithered from its tank to join her. (How’s THAT for sexual symbolism?)

We could spend all day discussing the various ways in which the girls playfully expose themselves, so let’s just cut to the weirdest of all: Jane, who has climbed onto the ledge of a luxury hotel wearing only a towel to chase after one of those hairless Chinese crested dogs — don’t ask why — ends up tumbling into a trash bin several stories below, where she realizes with a giggle that she’s naked (again) because her towel has fallen off.

Roxy, meanwhile, is wearing a micro-miniskirt of a bathrobe as she wallows next to Jane amid the refuse.

Then there’s Eugene Levy as a hapless truancy officer who’s obsessed with catching Roxy ditching school — which she does a lot to further her band’s career. (Jack Osbourne plays the group’s manager, and in one scene brags about a “marathon mission” of a party at his house, which is unfortunate considering his real-life rehab stint.) He calls her house, he follows her wherever she goes, he has photos of her covering the walls of his office.

When the school principal embarked on the same kind of pathological pursuit in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” it wasn’t disturbing because it was so cartoonish, like something Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner would do.

Part of what makes “New York Minute” troubling is that fact that Mary-Kate and Ashley look and sound so young, even though the girls who began their careers as infants on the sitcom “Full House” have grown into beautiful, stylish 17-year-olds. (They turn 18 June 13.) They’re itty-bitty things with chirpy chipmunk voices, which makes viewing them as sex symbols seem even more predatory.

As voyeuristically directed by Dennie Gordon from a script by three screenwriters, “New York Minute” has all the subtlety of a sitcom, and none of the sense to effectively use actors who know comedy. Andy Richter humiliates himself with a fake Chinese accent; Darrell Hammond repeatedly has coffee spilled in his lap.

You know who fares the best? Bob Saget, the twins’ former “Full House” co-star, in a cameo that will elicit more laughs than most clips he aired on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”