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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

How the West Was Fun (1994)



Reviews and Comments

It's difficult not to summarily dismiss this movie as the cliche-ridden, logic-flawed kiddie flick that it is. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen visit Grandma's ranch out West. Gee, are they struggling to afford to hold on to it? Is someone trying to swindle them out of it? And is it someone other than the wise Native American who helps out around the place? If you have to hesitate to answer any of these questions, you haven't had a lot of exposure to movies. When I got to the part where the villain was just getting around to burning up mail he intercepted up to a year prior, just in time for the Olsen twins to see what he was doing, however, I was thinking it was time to excuse the cliches and chalk it up as a kid's fantasy. When the twins break into a high-level business meeting and there, on the spot, sway a multi-millionaire's plans for an investment, I was sure of it. These utterly ridiculous scenes that would kill any other film (like when the villain's trailer, the home base of his operation, is discovered in the woods with the sign "Temporary Headquarters" tacked on the front) are precisely what place it in a separate category where those particular criticisms are invalid. If you're the approximate age of the Olsen twins, you'll most likely adore this movie to no end. Yet, at the same time, the same elements that make it good for kids make it nearly unwatchable for adults -- and I have to penalize the film for that. The greatest children's films are, and should be, great entertainment for adults, also. How can one mention Mary Poppins or A Christmas Story and disagree? The real problem with How the West Was Fun is that it plays down to the kids' level rather than up to it. Screen this one for your kids if you like; they'll enjoy it -- but you won't be doing them any favors beyond an hour and a half of entertainment.