By Pete Vonder Haar | May 9, 2004

Mr. Eugene Levy,
As you know, I’ve had a vested interest in your career for many years: from “SCTV” to your 1980s comedy projects and on up to the fine films you’ve made with Christopher Guest. Why, I even watched those intermittently amusing American Pie movies. It’s been quite a run.
But enough small talk. If you recall the terms of our arrangement, you were promised fame and wealth commensurate with the intrinsic value of your collateral, and I feel that your receiving high dollar paychecks for films like Bringing Down the House and Dumb and Dumberer has been more than adequate in keeping with my end of the arrangement. Unfortunately, even I could not foresee the infernal (if I may be permitted a small bon mot) depths to which you’d be forced to descend in “New York Minute,” the new movie from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
Those Olsens are quite skilled, in their own way. All that was required for “New York Minute” was reproducing their straight-to-video template using a slightly larger budget and some bigger-named talent. After all, they got you to play the stumblebum truant officer hot on the trail of ne’er do-well Roxy Ryan (Mary-Kate). And then there’s Andy Richter as the limo driver cum assassin who’s managed to procure a datebook belonging to Roxy’s uptight sister Jane (Ashley)…and he thinks he’s Chinese (I know, I can’t believe I’m writing it either). They’ve tried to spruce things up with a threadbare plot about a computer chip containing pirated songs that one of the bad guys deposited in Roxy’s purse while avoiding the police, though if you’re like me you were probably wondering why they couldn’t just e-mail or FTP the song files. In the end, all that’s really resolved is that the Olsens aren’t very accomplished actors, and a plot as contrived as this is a slap in the face to anyone in the audience over age 10, but this is hardly unexpected.
My only question is, how did they ensnare you, Eugene? Did the thought of doing another clichéd “innocents abroad in the Big Apple” story, with Jane rushing to make her big speech at Columbia University, appeal to you that much? Was the obligatory wardrobe changing montage – set in the Harlem beauty shop where Jane and Roxy win over the scary black people – funnier in the script? Or are you just that big a fan of Simple Plan, whose music video shoot allowed the perfect opportunity for all the film’s principals to meet up?
(I found myself wondering if Simple Plan will have any “punk” credentials left after appearing in an Olsen Twins movie. Or what Metallica thought about Roxy wearing a “Damage, Inc.” t-shirt for the first half of the movie. But I digress.)
The person I felt really bad for was you, Eugene. Director Dennie Gordon (Joe Dirt, What a Girl Wants) never lets an opportunity to humiliate or injure you pass him by. Whether you’re stage diving onto a parking lot or being forced to trade lines with a clearly discombobulated Jack Osbourne, I can’t begin to imagine the hellish (there I go again) despair that seized your heart while making this movie. To go from appearing in A Mighty Wind to this must have been crippling on both an emotional and a spiritual level.
For that reason, I regret to inform you that I am forced to dissolve our original contract. I’m not usually one to turn my back on what, on its surface, looks like a bargain, but I fear impending events (the release of “New York Minute” chief among them) have convinced me to reconsider. As the fair market value of your soul has dropped to practically nothing, I find that I am unable to offer you anything in exchange for it. Please accept my apologies, and my hopes that we can do business in the future.
Yours truly, ^ Satan ^ Prince of Darkness ^ First of the Fallen
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