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Well, I’ve already reviewed the 1961 Disney film, The Parent Trap. Now, it’s time to fulfill the request of many of my readers (oscarstainton, in particular), and review the 1998 remake. Is it as good as the original? Is it better? Is it worse? Let’s find out!
(As the plot is pretty much the same as the original film, I’m not going to go that much deeply into it or its source material. So, if you want to know more about that, please read my review of the 1961 film. Thanks!)
And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!
As the opening credits roll, we see glimpses of a memorable date between two people aboard a ship. The man is Nick Parker, played by Dennis Quaid, and the woman is Liz James, played by the late Natasha Richardson. They seem to love each other very much and are just enjoying themselves overall.
We then skip to 11 years later at a girls’ camp where we’re introduced to twins Annie and Hallie, both played superbly by Lindsay Lohan. The thing is that they don’t know they’re twins. They’re two totally different girls with two totally different personalities who come from two totally different places. One is proper and British while the other is more laid-back and Californian. Nevertheless, the audience can tell that these two are twins even if they might not know (or accept it) themselves.
They dislike each other from the start which leads them to playing multiple pranks on each other. One of the pranks ends up going too far
and the girls are punished to stay together in a sort of solitary confinement cabin.
While together in the cabin, they’re forced to talk with each other and soon lessen their dislike of one another. They start to bond and become friendly and discover that they are indeed twins! When their parents had them, the parents divorced leaving one of them to keep one of the girls and the other to keep the other one. And as well know by now, the parents are those two we saw in the beginning of the film.
They’re happy to find each other, but also yearning to meet the other parent whom they’ve never met before in their lives. This leads them to concocting a plan to switch places. Annie will take the place of Hallie and vice-versa so that each can experience the love of the other parent. And when they finally tell the truth, the parents would be forced to swap them back by meeting face-to-face. If that happens, maybe their parents will get back together again? It’s worth a shot anyway.
They soon start taking part in the most hardcore method acting training possible by coaching each other on how to be the other one and what to expect at the other one’s home, etc.
Soon, it’s time for everyone to go back home and Annie and Hallie do their switch hoping for everything to go alright. Thankfully, everything does go alright. One of them gets to see her mother for the first time, the other gets to meet her father for the first time, all’s well!
What could possibly go wrong?
You see, Nick Parker has since come into contact with a young publicist named Meredith Blake, played by Elaine Hendrix. While Hallie/Annie (I’ve forgotten by now who was who) was away at camp, this love affair blossomed and now Nick is looking to marry Meredith. Meredith can’t wait to get married either, but she’s more in love with his money than with him.
The twins talk on the phone to each other about this development, at first thinking it’s just an infatuation. But, when they realize that this marriage may go through, then their chances of getting their parents together again will be ruined. So, they speed up their battle plan. The twin in England reveals to her mother the truth about who she is and lies to her saying that Nick can’t wait to see Liz again for the switch. Liz is still flattered by the idea of Nick liking her and together, they go to California where they’re supposed to meet Nick at a hotel.
Meanwhile, Nick is at the hotel with Meredith and his twin, totally unaware that Liz will be there. When the two meet, they are both shocked: Nick shocked to see Liz and Liz shocked to see Nick shocked! Pretty soon, the whole story is revealed and everyone learns about the twins, including Meredith, who can’t really stand one of them, much less two of them!
Anyway, the girls decide to do something to get their parents back together and plan a surprise date for them aboard a ship recreating the night when the picture was taken. The parents appreciate and enjoy the night, but don’t get back together.
The girls try one last thing: It’s about time for Liz to go back to England with her legal daughter, but the twins won’t tell her or their dad which one is which. They want their dad to take them on a camping trip with their mom and only after that will they reveal their identity. Nick acquiesces to this, but Liz drops out of the plans and Meredith finds her way involved in this camping trip. The twins use this as an advantage to get Meredith out of the picture by just causing her as much suffering as possible. Finally tired of the two of them, she gives Nick an ultimatum: either her or the twins. Of course, Nick chooses the twins. Meredith storms off and the twins are happy to have broken that marriage.
Sadly though, their parents are still not getting back together and the girls admit defeat. One of them heads back to England with Liz. When they arrive in England, they see Nick already there with the other twin. They didn’t want to lose their loved ones again and took a Concorde flight to get to England first.
Nick and Liz end up remarrying and the girls are happy to have their family united once again!
And that was The Parent Trap, and honestly, it’s just as good as the original film! It does a great job paying homage and respect to the original film while still maintaining its own particular style. The acting is wonderful, especially that of Lindsay Lohan playing double roles. Elaine Hendrix was also excellent as Meredith, the woman I honestly feel sorry for in the film.
Even the side characters are enjoyable and that’s the best way to describe the film: enjoyable. The film is an overall enjoyment and one that I highly recommend you watch, especially if you’ve seen the original.
(You can click on the image below for an enlarged version of my rating sheet.)
So, the final score for this film is 29/35 = 82.86% (B-) !
The next review will be posted on March 21st.