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New York Minute Reviews

Poised between child stardom and adult celebrity, 'tween queens Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen celebrate their coming of age with their first feature. Twins Jane (Ashley) and Roxy (Mary-Kate) Ryan are polar opposites whose contradictory temperaments clash when they're forced to spend the day together in New York City. Nerdy Jane is on her way to Columbia University to compete in a public-speaking contest, while delinquent Roxy is heading to the Big Apple for a concert by pop-punk band Simple Plan. Roxy blew off school in hopes of getting her own group discovered at the concert and video shoot, but dedicated truant officer Max Lomax (Eugene Levy) is hot on her trail. During a police action at the train station, a microchip containing pirated music is slipped into the unwitting Roxy's purse, and chaos ensues. Both girls are soon being hotly pursued through midtown Manhattan by Bennie (Andy Richter), the goofy black sheep of a crime family with ties to the music pirates. The twins sneak into the Plaza Hotel room of Sen. Anne Lipton (Andrea Martin), her teenage son, Trey (Jared Padalecki), and their Chinese Crested, Renaldo. When Renaldo eats the chip, the girls grab him and flee in hopes of getting their day back on track, only to be sidelined by their own sibling rivalry: Jane lashes out at Roxy for ruining "the biggest academic day of her life" and reveals that her speech could win her an Oxford University scholarship that would take her far, far away from her attention-hogging sister. They go their separate ways but quickly discover that they need to stick together if they want to outsmart Bennie and Max and make it to Columbia by 3 pm. And of course, they'll make time for romance along the way; Roxy finds her soul mate in Trey and Jane literally bumps into true love Jim (Riley Smith), a cute bike messenger, throughout the day. Building on years of success making direct-to-video features, this Olsen-Twin caper follows a standard pattern: Comical high jinks in a big-city setting. But armed with years of experience and a more generous budget, Mary-Kate and Ashley, backed up by a strong supporting cast, deliver performances that suggest real progress as individual entertainers. Fresh off the Amanda Bynes vehicle WHAT A GIRL WANTS (2003), director Dennie Gordon keeps the pace brisk, and between makeovers and pratfalls, the girls deliver an easy-to-swallow dose of girl power.