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Friday, May 07, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
By Ted Fry
It's no secret that the Olsen twins already have a fan base that includes more than just pre-pubescent girls. With the release of this agreeably playful "grown-up" movie and the magic date of their 18th birthday coming up next month, it's likely that groupies of all ages and genders (whether they'll admit it or not) will be making the Mary-Kate-and-Ashley machine an even bigger cash cow.
The perky fraternal twins play the perky Ryan sisters, Long Island high-school seniors who share a daylong adventure that takes them on a whirlwind tour of Manhattan ("New York Nine Hours" doesn't make for nearly as catchy a title).
Ashley is Jane, the staid, studious one who keeps a shrine to her Republican heroes on the wall, fastidiously day-plans her life to the minute and has an important date for an Oxford University fellowship competition uptown at Columbia. Mary-Kate is Roxy, the Red Bull-swilling rocker chick who has truancy down to a science and is cutting school to get her band's demo CD into the hands of record execs at a video shoot for Simple Plan somewhere in midtown.
A few of the zany monkey wrenches that throw their plans into turmoil involve an obsessive truant officer (Eugene Levy) hot on Roxy's trail, a bumbling music pirate (Andy Richter) chasing a missing microchip, and two cute boys who conveniently match themselves to the right girl at just the right times. One of them even gets the fantasy thrill of discovering the twins in towels in a Plaza hotel suite.
The wackiness plays a little like a kinder, gentler version of "The Out-of-Towners." It's all fairly kid-friendly, but a better-than-it-needs-to-be script and glamorous showcase the stars get in every scene may be enough to keep that grown-up element interested, too (whether they'll admit it or not).
Even though their escapades last less than a day, the girls get a slew of costumes to scamper around the city in, including bathrobes and a sexy pair of ripped I Love New York T-shirts. Approaching adulthood has given their moony eyes, wide mouths and Mick Jagger lips a few harsher edges, but even when it feels forced, the Olsen twins' appeal I freely admit remains a two-for-one bargain.
Ted Fry: firstname.lastname@example.org
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