Lisa Costantini
April 19, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

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….

WEDDING PLANNERS Alyssa (Ashley, right) and Amanda (Mary-Kate) have a hard time getting these ”Two” (Guttenberg and Alley) together

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.


RANGE ROVERS Susie (Mary-Kate, right) and Jessica (Ashley) go ”West”

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.


FATHER’S DAY Tess (Mary-Kate, right) and Emily (Ashley) do something nice for ”Dad” (Amandes)

Billboard Dad


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.


HAVING A BALL Sam (Mary-Kate, right) teaches Emma (Ashley) how to score

Switching Goals


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.


FRENCH CONNECTION Mel (Mary-Kate, right) and Ally (Ashley) bond with Bore-zilla (played by Jeremy Bluff) over fast food

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.


PENN STATE In order to ditch their dreadful Amish duds, Mary-Kate (left) and Ashley’s characters blow their cover… on purpose

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.)


BEST SUITED Alex (Ashley, right) and Madison (Mary-Kate) soak up the ”Sun”

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.


‘LONDON”S CALLING Chloe (Mary-Kate, left) and Riley (Ashley) get a language lesson from the jam jar driver (a.k.a. cabbie)

Winning London


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.


SLOPE STYLE Taylor (Ashley, right) and Kylie (Mary-Kate) are dressed for fun and Games

Getting There


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.


LEARNING THE ROPES Lizzie (Ashley, right), Shane (Mary-Kate), and a couple cute teammates face a new ”Challenge”: dealing with Shane’s fear of heights

The Challenge


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.


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