Warner Bros. // 2002 // 264 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Elizabeth Skipper (Retired) // July 24th, 2003
"It's not healthy to bottle up your feelings. And I'm pretty sure it's bad for your skin."
I love the Olsen twins. I love everything about them: their cuteness, their innocence, their clothes, their ability to turn everything they touch into a goldmine. I admire them for their strength in overcoming the burdens of childhood stardom. I envy their fashion sense and adorable hair. I wish I, too, had a twin to share everything with. And I wish I had so much to share.
Meet the Carlsons: Macy (Clare Carey, Coach) and Jake (Eric Lutes, Caroline in the City) are fashion designers in Malibu. They have 15-year-old twin daughters, Riley and Chloe (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Full House, Billboard Dad, When in Rome), an awe-inspiring house, and a live-in "domestic," Manuelo (Taylor Negron). If it weren't for the minor detail that Macy and Jake are separated, the Carlsons would be the picture perfect family.
Volume Three: About a Family
"Siblings in the City"
The Carlsons all look for dates for a benefit dance.
"Manuelo in the Middle, Part 1"
Riley and Chloe, hoping to avoid a parental spat, search for replacements for career day. Jake and Macy arrange a new family photo but forget to include Manuelo.
"Manuelo in the Middle, Part 2"
Riley and Chloe start a manhunt for Manuelo, who quit after being excluded from the Carlson family photo.
Jake helps Tedi (Natashia Williams, She Spies) deal with her "mid-20s crisis." Chloe doesn't pick Riley as her debate partner.
"Rules of Engagement"
Riley and Chloe agree to a trial separation to prepare themselves for college. Jake and Macy go on a date.
Riley and Chloe celebrate their 16th birthday. Jake and Macy decide to reunite.
Volume Four: Hangin' Out
"You've Got Mail"
Riley and Chloe perform community service. Jake discovers that Macy has a date.
Riley becomes addicted to massages. Chloe tries to ask out Lennon (Ben Easter, Holiday in the Sun). Jake and Macy kiss.
Riley and Chloe start a band, and their practice drives Macy out of the house. Riley finds herself jealous of Larry's (Jesse Head) girlfriend.
"The Flat Tire"
Riley and Chloe get their learner's permits. Cammie (Amy Davidson, 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter) tries to impress an agent with her acting prowess.
Riley and Chloe start working to earn money for a car. Jake and Macy attempt to keep their friends' rocky marriage intact.
Riley's visits to a retirement home coincide with two residents' deaths. Larry performs at the coffee house. Manuelo adjusts to the duties of his new position.
As I mentioned before, I love everything about the Olsen twins. Everything, that is, except So Little Time, which does little more than irritate me. After watching 12 episodes of the show, I finally understand why: So Little Time is not an Olsen-twins show; rather, it's an ensemble show that, yes, includes the Olsen twins but also includes myriad other characters whom I couldn't care less about.
When I watch an Olsen-twins movie -- say Winning London -- I expect to see at least one twin in every scene, and I am very rarely disappointed. When I watch So Little Time, though, only a little over half of the scenes contain at least one twin. The rest include other cast members, characters who are not boy, music, and fashion obsessed enough to compete with Mary-Kate and Ashley. Who cares if their parents are separated? Who cares if their nanny feels left out? Who even cares if their friend of the family in the form of a gorgeous supermodel is having a career crisis? I just want to know how the twins are going to extract themselves from yet another sticky situation...and what they're going to wear while they do so.
So Little Time is by no means an award-winning show; no Olsen-twin endeavor ever is. But because the twins aren't around enough to distract me, I suddenly notice the omnipresent banal dialogue, contrived storylines, and shaky comedic timing. Making matters even worse is the fact that the episodes have not been released in order. Each volume (there are four so far) has a "theme" and contains six episodes, culled from two seasons, that follow that theme. So in one episode, Jake and Macy have reunited and in the next, he's snooping through her email and discovering she has a date. If there is another level to the show other than the obvious canned-laughter one, it's impossible to find while watching the episodes out of order. Even if the characters do grow and develop, we will never know.
On the up side, the transfers for the two discs are very good, especially considering So Little Time is a teenage sitcom on a non-premium cable channel. The 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround track offers a good balance between full and bass-y music and crisp and clear dialogue, and I saw no errors in the video transfer.
As I've come to expect from Olsen-twins releases, these discs are not brimming with extras but they have enough to keep most fans satisfied. The kingpin is the bloopers, which I'm always thrilled to see included on any DVD. These aren't quite as funny as I'd hoped, but then the show and the actors aren't quite as funny as I'd hoped either. Also offered are an uninspired photo gallery, a semi-occupying interactive quiz, and the most nepotistic trailers I've ever encountered.
You can't expect greatness from the Olsen twins. Find what enjoyment you can in their dress-up-doll qualities, and be satisfied with mediocrity.
I can't recommend these discs to anyone. If you don't like the Olsen twins, any amount of So Little Time will be too much of them. If you do like the Olsen twins, you'll find there's not enough of them in the show to satisfy your craving. Instead, spend your money on any of their straight-to-DVD movies, which are all Olsen twins, all the time. Finally, if you've seen the show before and actually like it, you'll be frustrated by the lack of chronological order and realize that watching the show on TV yields the same results for free.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are found guilty of allowing others to horn in on their airtime and are sentenced to a week's detention each.
Review content copyright © 2003 Elizabeth Skipper; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 264 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Gallery
* Interactive Quiz
* Trailers: Warner Home Video VHS/DVD Catalog, When in Rome Soundtrack CD from Trauma Records, Sweet 16 Videogame from Acclaim, Curl 'n Style Fashion Dolls from Mattel, Book Trailer from Parachute/Harper Collins, Mary-Kate and Ashley in ACTION! from Toon Disney, and mary-kateandashley.com and America Online™