Two Cute Sisters Can’t Carry Shallow Matchmaking Tale
Billboard Dad. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Dualstar Video. $19.96. 90 minutes. Cute only goes so far, and even the undeniable cuteness of the “Two of a Kind” Olsen twins doesn’t stretch far enough here. They play sisters trying to procure, ah, that is, find, their famous widower artist Dad (Tom Amandes) a wife. Through the magic of movie-making and with a complete lack of credibility, the petite preteens--who have the right clothes for every occasion--manage to paint a huge personal ad on a blank billboard in Hollywood. In typical movie and TV fashion, where kids are more adult than most adults, they make sure Dad knows what to do: “Do we need to give you the safe sex talk?”
In insulting vignettes, Dad reluctantly dates a few ad respondents--the French woman, for instance, turns him off by revealing a hairy armpit. Romance prevails finally, despite a dishonest, scheming agent (Carl Banks has this thankless, paper-thin role) who thinks Dad needs to suffer in order to create his art. The sticky mess, written by Maria Jaquemetton and directed by Alan Metter, is set in the heart of a wholesomely kooky Venice Beach.
Rock ‘n Together. Craig ‘n Co. Sweet Louise Music BMI. CD: $14.98; cassette: $9.98. (818) 760-1077. https://www.craignco.com
Rock ‘n’ rollin’ singer-songwriter Craig Taubman has secured his place as a top children’s artist not only for his engaging, high-energy, kid-pleasing rhythms and slick instrumentals, but for his inclusive, funny and thoughtful lyrics from a child’s and a parent’s point of view. This compilation is a great introduction for newcomers to Taubman and his band, and a choice roundup for fans. Highlights: the jazzy “Word Play”; the doo-wop “Seven Wonders,” with its irresistible, finger-snapping harmonies; “Haircut,” a reluctant-to-be-sheared kid’s P.O.V.; and a bebopping ode to individuality, “My Way.”
Jumpin’ Jack. Jack Grunsky. BMG Kidz/Youngheart Music. CD: $13.98; cassette: $10.98. (800)443-4727; (800) 444-4287. https://www.youngheartmusic.com
Award-winning Canadian singer Jack Grunsky is another top-notch children’s artist with big adult appeal, too. With fabulous instrumentals, a sophisticated world music sensibility and warm vocals, this sunny album is one big smile. Grunsky’s signature buoyant style invites listener participation--his catchy spinoff from “Iko Iko” and his own playful “Name Game"--and he offers children heartfelt affirmation throughout in such songs as “With My Own Two Hands,” “Live in Your Imagination,” “Water From the Well” and “Gift of Wings.”