Today I’m doing something new. I’ll be analyzing the feature film New York Minute as if I were writing an AP Literature or AP Language essay. I watched the movie twice, wrote the essay in 1 hour, and then spent 2 weeks questioning my life choices and debating whether or not I should actually post this. Please enjoy.
If you aren't familiar with the storyline, please see the wikipedia page for the movie before continuing.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Totally Understand Us
The 2000’s were a great time to be a alive. We had glittery makeup, jeans with holes in them, and the beginning of MySpace. But what was it like to be a teen in the 2000’s? I’ll give you a hint, it mostly involved running around the streets of New York City avoiding the truancy officer with your twin sister who you also hated but eventually grew to love. This scenario was so relatable and common that it was turned into a feature film! In the cinematic masterpiece New York Minute, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen make use of celebrity cameos, their general hotness and “average-at-best” comedy to really show off their impeccable knowledge of things teens liked in the year 2004.
While the Olsen twins have a lot of pull on their own, New York Minute relies heavily on celebrity cameos to show the viewers that it is a hip movie that teens can enjoy. Appearances by Dr. Drew, Bob Saget and the entire band Simple Plan are fun, but unrealistic. Dr. Drew is clearly a real actual doctor, not an actor. Bob Saget, known for playing the twins father in the popular series, Full House, also makes an appearance, and boy is he shocked when he runs into the girls on the streets of New York City. It's also worth noting that Eugene Levy and Andy Richter have relatively large roles in this film. The most major of all cameos is made by the band Simple Plan and they are featured heavily. In fact one of the driving plots of the film is that Roxy (Mary-Kate Olsen) needs to get to a Simple Plan music video shoot in order to pass her bands CD along to some high power music executives. You know, the normal way in which people get record deals. Spoiler alert: her band actually does get a record deal. Believe in yourselves kids. Finally, the cameo/performance by Simple Plan is highly effective at making the viewer think they are having a great time. A concert, dancing, and a weird dance scene ending in MK & A stage diving into a crowd with a small ugly dog? I’m having an absolute blast.
One of the best ways that New York Minute shows that it understands the complexity of teenage life, is by showcasing the general hotness of it’s cast members. For the first part of the movie, we see the twin sisters wearing boring, comfortable and practical clothing. Roxy likes jeans and tee shirts, Jane likes to wear skirt suits. Because she’s now 18 years old and that makes perfect sense. But all that fabric really gets in the way of their matching bodies and faces. Luckily for us, a (un)fortunate series of events forces the sisters into a hotel room where they need to shower. The audience sees the girls in bathrobes and a towel-dress that shows off just enough skin for us to finally understand that these girls are attractive. Then they run around the streets of the city in their towels for a new york minute before changing into matching “I Love New York” outfits. Because what’s hotter than two women in towels? Twins wearing matching outfits. Finally this movie is starting to make sense to me.
The final way that New York Minute shows off it’s extreme understanding of teenage life is by utilizing humor that I feel comfortable describing as “average at best”. The humor isn’t high brow, but it gets the point across. One of my favorite jokes in the movie happens in a scene I mentioned earlier. The twins are in a stranger’s hotel room , wearing bathrobes and towels. They are also conveniently dancing around in slow motion. At the exact right moment, an attractive male walks into the room, notices the scantily clad women and asks aloud, “Is it my birthday?” Do you get it? Because he thinks he got some female twins for his birthday present. He owns them now! I can barely contain my laughter. Another instance of groundbreaking humor in the movie is a scene that takes place in a barbershop. The girls travel to barbershop after navigating the city underground, in the sewers. I don’t have time to explain that part of the movie right now. They wander into a barbershop owned by people of color and enter into a fashion montage where they appropriate the hell out of black culture. They try on afro wigs, sweatpants, large jerseys and other things. Now, 2004 was a different time, so maybe this entire scene was funnier then. Watching it now, however, feels borderline offensive. The only part of that scene that I found funny was when the entire shop joined the girls in singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. I might have enjoyed that mostly because it felt like a metaphor for the Olsen twins always being trapped in the shadow of the role that made them famous child actors. I’m emotionally damaged.
In conclusion, the film New York Minute totally understands the complex minds of teenagers. After all, who better to understand our generation that a pair of talented, beautiful billionaires? They utilize the plethora of tools at their disposal, celebrity cameos, their looks, and okay humor. This movie really gets it. Most teenager’s personalities come either in the form of Roxy, the teen rebel who just wants to skip class and rock out, or as Jane, the high maintenance nerd. That’s it. There’s no other options.
I think we can all agree that we're better people now that we've read that. There were so many other things I could have touched on, I just ran out of space and time. See the notes I took while watching the movie below.
Oh and be sure to check out New York Minute on DVD and Blu-Ray at garage sales and thrift stores in your local area. People should be giving it away for free by now.
If you have a movie you'd like me to analyze in this style, please leave a comment down below. I also need some help naming this series. Let me know if you have suggestions!