I watched every Mary-Kate and Ashley movie to see who has the better romantic storylines
At some point in recent history, I thought it would be a good idea to sit down and watch every single Mary-Kate and Ashley movie and then determine which twin had the better storyline.
Why? Who cares.
I hunted them down, watched them, analyzed them, and now, I’m here with my findings.
The rules were simple. I looked into which twin had the better plot, including character personality and the values of which boys they ended up with (if they even ended with one).
Because the majority of these movies feature casts under the age of eighteen, this list cannot be called “which twin got the hotter guy in each Mary-Kate and Ashley movie.” However, the love interests are still analyzed by their personalities/plots, since they are major characters.
My list begins with “Passport to Paris,” which was their first ‘true’ destination film, and ends with “New York Minute,” their final movie. “Passport to Paris” isn’t the first movie the twins did together, but I was’t about to include “How the West Was Fun” or “Billboard Dad” on this rating.
Since you can’t screenshot a VHS and this is a recession where we can’t afford to pay for everything on Amazon, these were watched via the help of our good friend, semi-illegal-Internet-streaming-site. The quality may be poor, but the memories are crystal clear.
1. PASSPORT TO PARIS (1999)
The twins are in seventh grade, yet already possess better fashion tastes than me, a college graduate. They also go to parties three days in a row, since you can do that when you’re young. Anyway, the twins have to spend their spring break in Paris with their stingy grandfather (who’s also the US ambassador to France) instead of going to their spring fling dance.
No lie, the twins are essentially the same person for the first third of the movie. Like, to the point where I had to Wikipedia which twin was which (my initial guess was wrong). Since they had the exact same personalities, it really didn’t matter that I couldn’t tell them apart.
Melanie’s guy wears a bucket hat and turtleneck during a day date, and also plays in a band. His dad wants him to give up his band to take over the family business, which is wild because he’s deadass 14. Michel wears black the entire movie, which is either because he’s French or goth.
Ashley’s guy completely loses his shit at a restaurant and yells at a waiter because he won’t put ketchup on the side, which I guess is supposed to be sweet in 1999, but is impeccably douchey in literally every other year. Like, I get the sentiment, but he didn’t have to physically stand up and yell. At the end of the movie, I learned that Jean is also in Michel’s band. Finding this detail changed absolutely nothing.
Melanie’s bucket-hat wearing French lover. There’s no resolution to neither Jean nor Michel’s plotlines: the movie ends with Melanie and Ally choosing to do homework instead of hanging out with two boys from their hometown. Like, Jean and Michel truly had no significant impact on their lives. I guess they saw how bad all of their options really were and realized men ain’t shit!
2. OUR LIPS ARE SEALED (2000)
After witnessing a jewel heist and being threatened by a madman, the twins and their parents join the Witness Protection Program. After blowing 97.3% of their covers, they’re sent to Australia, where their parents inexplicably own an inn. The girls spend their time Down Under trying not to blow their covers and, like, being 14.
Pete…exists? He’s just there. I genuinely don’t know if I can write more than three sentences about the guy. Pete is nice? A surfer? Australian?
Ashley’s skin looked damn good in this movie. Yeah, this movie looks like it was filmed with a broken camera, but homegirl’s skin is clearly glistening throughout. Anyway, I genuinely didn’t know Avery’s name until 44:36 into this cinematic masterpiece. But, I do remember the majority of Avery’s lines, which included gems like, “Surfing is more than a sport: it’s a life,” and “It’s not just a sport: it’s an art form.”
To her credit, Abby genuinely looks like she’s in pain every time Avery speaks, and she pretty much flat out says she’s only into him because he’s cute. Avery’s dad owns an amusement park, which is only interesting enough to get mentioned once during the whole movie.
Ashley. She knew her man ain’t shit, but she slid in there anyway and presumably got out with her heart unscathed. Icon.
3. WINNING LONDON (2001)
In a shocking turn of events, Mary-Kate gets to play the smarter, staunchier twin for once. The girls go to London to compete in an international Model UN competition, and it’s actually the central plot in the movie.
Yes, they fall in love, but they’re really into Model UN. Winning London also has at least two (2) people of color speaking at least three (3) lines each, which is a major milestone in this movie franchise. It’s the little things!
First, James is played by actual actor Jesse Spencer. Let’s not look past that.
Anyway, James is kinda a lil’ bitch – he could not handle Chloe beating him at polo. Granted, she did act like a sore winner, but still. Chloe warned him from the very beginning that she was extra as hell and he chose to shoot his shot anyway, so it’s really all his fault. Chloe actually had to get (fake) held hostage in order to apologize to James’ sorry ass (I wasn’t kidding, they were REALLY into Model UN).
On the positive side, Chloe is smart af. Yes, she’s more than willing to throw her intelligence away for a rich dude she’s known for three days, but she’s still the only reason her team made it to London in the first place.
Bryan only sees Riley as his mom’s best friend’s daughter. Riley is pretty much Taylor Swift in the “You Belong With Me” music video. She seriously joins her school’s Model UN team just so she can go to London and convince Bryan to love her. I mean, yeah, helping her sister also had a role in it, but that’s not the point.
My girl had it bad. When her and Brian finally get together (spoiler alert, but it’s for your own good), they do so IN AN AIR DUCT while trying to save their fellow Model UN members from a mock HOSTAGE SITUATION. Romance can’t get more badass than that.
Ashley, based solely on the scene of her in the air ducts with Bryan.
IS THIS NOT PEAK ROMANCE?
HOLIDAY IN THE SUN (2001)
This cinematic masterpiece has everything: smuggling, romance, bucket hats, fish in a blender, a young Megan Fox, main characters serving jail time, the iconic girl group Play, and [allegedly] parents who are also swingers. I don’t know who read this script and was like, “Get me a camera, STAT,” but I’m glad they did.
Here’s the main plot – the twins are mad that their dad made them go to the Bahamas instead of Hawaii. V inconsiderate, Mom and Dad. How will they survive?!
Much like “Winning London,” it’s now time for Mary-Kate’s character to fall in love with a family friend. That family friend happens to be Griffin, who makes the face above essentially the entire movie. Griffin loves Madison, but she’s not here for that. Instead, she goes horseback riding on a beach with some dude who’s Not Griffin* because they are [Lady Gaga voice] caught in a bad romance.
After the date, Madison, totally misreading the room, immediately goes and tells Griffin that she’s in love with Not Griffin. This sends Real Griffin into a tailspin that lasts the majority of the movie. By the time Madison and Real Griffin get together, no one cares. There’s too much other shit going on. Sorry.
(*Not Griffin’s name is actually Scott, which I learned after watching the movie. Not Griffin just suits him better.)
I don’t even know where to start on Alex and Jordan.
On their first date, they feed the stingrays at Jordan’s aquarium job, where Alex not-so-subtly says things like, “So, they just suck on you?” and, “It’s sucking on me!” Okay, girl, we see you.
Megan Fox is also somehow in this movie, playing a rich girl named Briana. Alex and Briana fight over Jordan by fucking with his work schedule because they don’t care about him getting fired. All’s fair in love and capitalism.
Oh, by the way: Jordan’s an antique smuggler with no defined age, who also seemingly lacks a family and spends half of the movie in jail. So, there’s that.
The other half of Jordan’s screentime comes from him singing Alex a long-ass song he wrote for her, while she sits in the audience and makes this face:
And they say love is dead.
Ashley. Under no circumstance would I ever recommend one of my friends date someone like Jordan. He “accidentally” smuggled precious antiques? Yeah, okay, sure. But, in the context of this movie, Jordan is by far the most interesting character. He created so much confusion. No one bailed him out of jail. Like, no one. Why didn’t anyone bail him out? Half the people on the island were in love with him but he still had to sit in a cell? It be ya own smuggling crew.
Play performing their Grammy-snubbed single, “Us Against The World.”
4. GETTING THERE (2002)
All of the characters in this movie are insufferable. I wish happiness upon none of them. Anyway, the twins just turned sixteen and they’re trying to get to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Sounds promising, right?
Well, it’s not. It’s awful. The hijinks are nauseating. At one point they do migrant labor as a bit because apparently that’s funny? It’s funny enough to be a running joke? I hate this movie.
Three minutes into the movie, Sam tries to put a move on Kylie and she’s like ‘nah.’ This happens about four other times because the dude cannot take a hint. She literally rejects him in multiple states, but he keeps shooting his shot.
Bro, if she won’t date you in California, she’s not going to date you in Nevada or Utah either. Nevertheless, he persisted, as if he thought that hell trip was going to make her like him any more. It didn’t. I hate him.
I spent the majority of the movie believing Taylor and Alex were a thing, only to figure out more than halfway through that they weren’t. Whoops. Taylor was the only one who really, truly wanted to go to the Olympics, but only because she wanted to see some hot skier.
Alex is essentially just a placeholder. Taylor spends the majority of the movie pissed off because her dumbass friends can’t keep it together long enough to make it to Utah.
That’s Alex, the Olympic skiier who Ashley has a crush on. She thinks he’s cute. This is the best picture of him I can find. You do you, sis.
The sweet release of death. Or, Ashley, solely because the guy she was into had less lines. It gives me less time to hate him.
Mary-Kate’s bag, not the outfit itself.
5. WHEN IN ROME (2002)
My options for watching this movie were either dropping a small down payment to get it off of iTunes or to watch it for free online, but with Greek subtitles constantly running. I can write three words in Greek now.
Anyway, the girls are interns at an entertainment (?) company in Italy. Unfortunately, they suck at their jobs and get fired. Fortunately, they get hired again, and then become really good at their jobs. Everyone’s always oddly chill about getting fired while in a foreign country, but that’s the beauty of a Mary-Kate and Ashley film.
There’s a whole subplot in this movie about workplace sexual harassment. The boss in “When In Rome” is in love on one of his employees who was his intern 11 years ago. Like, he talks about how he had to “keep his distance” because it’s inappropriate for them to have a thing now that she’s his subordinate/was once his intern. But he’s liked her since her internship days?
This all takes place while one of the other employees is hitting on the former intern, even though she’s totally not into it (no one ever stands up for her, by the way). A scenario of this caliber would cause quite the discourse in 2018, but we don’t have to get into that here.
Paolo is an unmotivated jerk who seems to have a preoccupation with unintentionally getting Charli fired so they can spend more time together, until two-thirds through the movie when it’s revealed he wants to be a chef. And, magically, I’m suddenly totally okay with Paolo after watching him make pizza.
Ryan is also an unmotivated, materialistic tool who seems to have a preoccupation with letting everyone know how big of an unmotivated, materialistic tool he is. Ryan manages to get his shit together by the time the whole thing ends, but at what cost? He’s still awful, he’s just now motivated at being awful.
Leila’s probably the most capable of the interns, which is why her boss (Ryan’s uncle) wants her to convince Ryan to get his shit together. First, Ryan is just shallow enough to clean up his act solely so a girl could possibly like him, and second, Leila literally gets nothing out of this. I mean, yeah, she’s a nice person, but when you get fired from your internship twice, you clearly have other things you need to focus on.
Mary-Kate. Ashley’s whole time in Italy just seems stressful af. However, it’s worth noting how this is another movie where the underlying message is that men ain’t shit. Ashley’s dude literally flies across the world to help her out and she’s still like “That’s nice, but I’m never going to have romantic feelings for you.” Which is fair, since her guy wasn’t shit. That’s rapidly becoming a theme in these movies.
6. THE CHALLENGE (2003)
Watching this in what’s considered standard definition by modern standards felt like it was in the highest of high definition.
Mary-Kate and Ashley play estranged twins who sign up for a reality show in order to compete for college scholarships. They don’t know the other is going to be there, so they get cast for ratings. How nice.
There’s literally only two rules for the contestants: curfew at 10pm and “no romantic entanglements.” Like, these are a bunch of teenagers in Mexico competing on a reality show and those are the only rules. I guess there are probably more, but they’re never mentioned. The Challenge also has POC minor characters, but they enforce negative stereotypes. It’s a start!
Not gonna lie to you guys, I didn’t write a single thing about Adam down in my notes. Now, I’m stuck relying on screenshots in order to piece together whatever plot him and Shane had.
Shane was the boho-chic twin, and Mary-Kate seemed to readily immerse herself into the role. Her beachy waves and cotton tunics were out there living their fullest lives. Her love interest, Adam, was also a contestant on The Challenge. I think he was supposed to be the jock? They weren’t supposed to date (see: Rule No. 1 of 2), but they did. Oh, to be young and rebellious!
Literally my only notes for Ashley’s character in this movie were, “This bitch really out here ordering a rare-ass steak in Mexico. Like, sis.” So, that’s how her plot was going.
Marcus is fine, I guess. He has the exact same haircut as this boy I don’t like, which didn’t win him any points in my book. The ~dilemma~ lies in how Marcus works for the show the twins are competing on, and he’s obviously not supposed to be romancing the cast. He does anyway, and everything seemed to work out in his favor. Good for him.
Really, though, Ashley’s character went to Mexico and ordered a rare steak. This should’ve been a bigger plot point instead of something so haphazardly glossed over. Were her intestines okay?
This one is honestly a draw. Like, I don’t know. I don’t have strong feelings about either character. “The Challenge” isn’t a horrible movie, but I couldn’t find all that much to say about it.
Ya girl was out here looking up cattle regulations in a separate window while the movie was playing. You can choose your own winner here, based on the limited amount of information I’ve provided you.
Mary-Kate and Ashley’s skin.
Also, some of the old love interests from past movies show up at the end of “The Challenge.” It’s actually really cute, if you want to check it out yourself.
7. NEW YORK MINUTE (2004)
As the only* Mary-Kate and Ashley movie to make it to the big screen, the standards were exceptionally high. And by that, I mean there was nice cinematography, celebrity cameos, and the craft services table probably had better food. Everything else was essentially the same as their other movies.
In “New York Minute,” Mary-Kate and Ashley play squabbling siblings who have to work together to save the day. There’s more to it than that, but, honestly, do you even care?
(*The 1995 family comedy “It Takes Two” was a theatrical release, but I respect that movie too much to include it with these other productions.)
Roxy is the family fuck-up, but she also seems to be the only one having any fun, like, ever, so I guess it’s worth the title. Roxy is living her truest life throughout this movie. Ditching school, going to a Simple Plan concert, dressing like Avril Lavigne – the girl had it all. Roxy basically gets everything she wants, while also having minimal character growth. There are moments which imply she learns the error of her ways, but did she, really?
She also hooks up with Jared Padalecki, whose character has a name that I don’t know. See? FULLEST LIFE.
Jane is awful. I’m sure there are people like that in real life, but, like, can’t relate! I was super hype the first time Jim came on screen because he remotely resembles Chad Michael Murray at first glance.
Unfortunately, I quickly realized Jim was not CMM at all, and instead was just a dude with a bike. Like, Jim’s whole identity revolves around his bike. His name on IMDb is legit listed as “Jim, The Bike Messenger.” He runs into Jane a lot, which is great for fans of serendipity, but for everyone else it’s more of “get out of the way?”
Mary-Kate, and it’s NOT because I think Jared Padalecki attractive (because I don’t). She just got the better end of the deal. Jane had severe anxiety and was struggling the entire movie. No one is envious of that.
I know these looks are controversial, but I did not sit through 15+ hours of direct-to-video movies for y’all to have that debate right now.
Now, what do you guys think? Who wins overall?