The Olsen twins movies you should rent
Why do we love the films of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen? Is it the top-notch acting? (Uh…) The masterful scripts? (Um, no…) Whatever it is, the twins’ mostly female fans are anxiously awaiting the May 7 release of ”New York Minute,” the duo’s first movie in nine years to play in theaters. In keeping with their time-honored formula, the Olsens play opposites in this urban romp: Mary-Kate’s a truant rock rebel, and Ashley’s an uptight overachiever.
To help you prep for the movie (and the twins’ 18th birthday, on June 13), we bravely held an all-Olsen film festival of the mainly straight-to-video confections that made them famous before they became billionaire mini-moguls with books, clothing, videogames, makeup, and dolls. Read on for our up-to-the-”Minute” list of the 10 flicks that do, and don’t, deserve your rental fees….
It Takes Two
Why we love Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”It Takes Two”
PREDICAMENT Twins separated at birth — one in an orphanage, the other a mansion — meet by accident. À la ”The Parent Trap,” the girls switch places to stop Dad from marrying his shrewish fiancée.
MARY-KATE PLAYS Amanda Lemmon, a tomboy who’s just fine being an orphan, thank you very much
ASHLEY PLAYS Alyssa Callaway, the prissy daughter of tycoon Roger (Steve Guttenberg — remember him?)
FASHION STATEMENT Amanda works the overalls-and-baseball-cap look; Alyssa’s wardrobe consists mostly of garments covered in bows.
WHY WE LOVE IT In addition to the great chemistry among cast members (including Kirstie Alley), this charming rags-to-riches tale has a happy ending — and we’re not just talking about the $19.5 million the film raked in.
How the West Was Fun
Why we’d skip Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”How the West Was Fun”
PREDICAMENT Their late mom’s family dude ranch is in trouble, so the Martin twins have to stop troublemaker Max (Martin Mull!) before he turns it into an amusement park.
MARY-KATE PLAYS Susie, leader
ASHLEY PLAYS Jessica, follower
FASHION STATEMENT Straight outta Branson: more fringe, denim, and plaid than you can shake a Stetson at
WHY WE’D SKIP IT While it’s cute (and yet strange) to see the toothsome twosome play dress-up, this Western flick is anything but wild. You’d think after eight years on ”Full House,” the girls would have learned how to deliver their lines convincingly — their overenunciation, in particular, has us heading for the hills.
Why we’d skip Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”Billboard Dad”
PREDICAMENT The Tyler girls rent a Santa Monica billboard to get their widowed dad (Tom Amandes) a date.
MARY-KATE PLAYS Tess, an avid diver
ASHLEY PLAYS Emily, who flips for boys
FASHION STATEMENT Poolside pretty: sports sandals, wetsuits, and trendy hooded sweatshirts
WHY WE’D SKIP IT The fact that the tweens were still in their ”Full House” troll-doll phase isn’t something they should have been advertising. But because they had to endure growing up in the public eye, we’ll let them off without rubbing their hair between our hands.
Why we love Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”Switching Goals”
PREDICAMENT When the soccer league goes coed, the Stanton girls have to play for opposing teams. Though their new teams aren’t a perfect fit, the girls pull off a ”great sister swap.”
MARY-KATE PLAYS Sam, a tomboy who defines hitting on boys as a soccer ball to the head
ASHLEY PLAYS Emma, a girly-girl who’d prefer to score off the field
FASHION STATEMENT MK&A do for shin pads and pigtails what Britney did for Catholic-school uniforms. Gooooooooooooal!
WHY WE LOVE IT We dig girls who can kick it with guys while wearing spikes. This is genuine girl power, not the froufrou Spice Girl kind.
Passport to Paris
Why we’d skip Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”Passport to Paris”
PREDICAMENT After their parents decide ”there is more to life than call-waiting and the mall,” they ship the Porter girls off to Paris for spring break to visit their grandfather, who also happens to be the U.S. ambassador to France. The twins ditch their embassy escort (unfunnily nicknamed Bore-zilla) to practice the international language with the cute locals.
MARY-KATE PLAYS Mel, the smart one, whose job it is to come up with half-thought-out ideas
ASHLEY PLAYS Boy-crazy Ally, who devours fashion magazines
FASHION STATEMENT Disguises that come straight off the runway: leather trenchcoats, penciled-in mustaches, and little black dresses with proper pearls for the embassy parties
WHY WE’D SKIP IT The scenery of the City of Lights is nice, but the bad accents and clichéd snotty Frenchmen make us finally appreciate freedom fries.
Our Lips Are Sealed
Why we love Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”Our Lips Are Sealed”
PREDICAMENT The Parker family must join the Witness Protection Program after the twins foil a jewel heist (okaaaaay…). But the blabby twins can’t keep their old identities a secret and are relocated to the one place they haven’t lived: Australia.
MARY-KATE PLAYS A tomboy and the brains of the operation. Her many identities include Mary Kate Parker, Maddy Turtleby, and Karla Frauenfelder.
ASHLEY PLAYS A fashionista and boy chaser. Her aliases: Ashley Parker, Abby Turtleby, and Andrea Frauenfelder.
FASHION STATEMENT A variety of hats (cowboy, beanie, scarf, bonnet) and a slew of shades keep the twins under wraps.
WHY WE LOVE IT The good oil is that the anklebiters’ daggy duds are humdinger, mate. (Translation: The twins’ embarrassing getups are quite fetching, friend.)
Holiday in the Sun
Why we love Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”Holiday in the Sun”
PREDICAMENT A Caribbean family vacation goes awry when the Stewart twins stumble upon a smuggling ring. The girls crack the case, but not before spending a night in the slammer.
MARY-KATE PLAYS Madison, the brainy one who loves astronomy and reading
ASHLEY PLAYS Alex, the girly-girl whose hobbies include shopping and tanning
FASHION STATEMENT Bikinis, cover-ups, jean shorts and skirts, and tank tops
WHY WE LOVE IT It’s every girl’s fantasy vacation — private yachts, horseback riding, and swimming with the dolphins, all at the exclusive Atlantis hotel, Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
Why we love Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”Winning London”
PREDICAMENT The Lawrence girls’ debate team gets invited to London for a Model U.N. competition. They take home the trophy, but not before one of them angers a lord by distracting and falling in love with his son.
MARY-KATE PLAYS Chloe, the conservative, competitive one who also plays hard-to-get
ASHLEY PLAYS Easygoing Riley, who’s more interested in competing for the attention of boys
FASHION STATEMENT Cool Brittania: peacoats, striped scarves, and knee-high boots
WHY WE LOVE IT It’s like ”Pretty Woman”-meets-”Love Story,” except without the hooker and the dying.
Why we’d skip Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”Getting There”
PREDICAMENT The Hunter girls take a road trip to Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics. Flat tires, missed flights, a stolen car, and an unworking cell phone ensue.
MARY-KATE PLAYS Kylie, whose wanderlust helps her enjoy the bumpy ride
ASHLEY PLAYS Taylor, the persnickety one for whom sticking to a schedule is an artform
FASHION STATEMENT The girls are chalet-ready in head-to-toe Chanel, including goggles, ski suits, and helmets.
WHY WE’D SKIP IT This blatant attempt to capitalize on Olympic fever doesn’t win any gold medals with us. Plus, there’s a character named Toast whose dudespeak is too stale to stomach.
Why we’d skip Mary-Kate and Ashley’s ”The Challenge”
PREDICAMENT The estranged Dalton twins are selected (without the other’s knowledge) to be on a ”Survivor”-esque reality show where they must live together in a ”Real World”-style bungalow. Sibling rivalry ensues, but the girls must band together to win a college scholarship.
MARY-KATE PLAYS Shane, a California hippie chick who practices yoga and abstains from eating meat
ASHLEY PLAYS Lizzie, a preppy student from D.C. who has only been late once — at birth, when her twin sister’s umbilical cord got wrapped around her neck
FASHION STATEMENT Shane aligns her chakras while wearing peasant shirts and cutoffs; Lizzie is the picture of East Coast sophistication in capri pants and blouses.
WHY WE’D SKIP IT Apparently the girls were loco about making a movie in Mexico, or was it the lure of a tropical vacation? This not-so-subtle ”Survivor” ripoff is definitely a challenge — for viewers who are annoyed by the Jeff Probst-wannabe host. Despite the DVD’s never-before-seen ending that reunites the girls with their past movie boyfriends, this film does NOT deserve immunity.