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Review: 'Parent Trap' still captures your heart

Web posted on: Thursday, July 30, 1998 4:22:34 PM

From Reviewer Paul Clinton

(CNN) -- It's nice to see that the folks at Disney are really serious about recycling, not just cans and bottles on their studio lot, but also what seems to be every film in their very extensive movie library.

This time around it's "The Parent Trap," which was a huge hit in 1961 and starred Hayley Mills in the dual role of twin girls. Now the 1998 version stars newcomer Lindsay Lohan in the lead role, along with Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson as her parents.

Yes, it is slick, sentimental and blatantly romantic. But most of all, this updated version of "The Parent Trap" is brilliantly cast. Young Lohan is wonderful in her film debut playing twin girls Hallie Parker and Annie James, who are scheming to get their divorced parents back together.

Richardson does a great comedic turn as the twin's mother, Elizabeth James, and Quaid's million-watt smile makes him a very appealing dad as Nick Parker.

Clip: "We're like twins"
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Paul's Pix: "The Parent Trap"
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Same as before...

Sticking to the original plot, the parents divorced soon after the birth of twins. Each one takes a girl, and plans on never seeing each other again. The twins, however, meet for the first time at summer camp where they hatch a plot to trade places so each can meet the parent she never knew before, and then the girls bring their parents back together again.

There's just one little hitch. Dad is about to marry a very determined woman who has no tolerance for children of any kind, let alone twins. Elaine Hendrix plays the beautiful vixen out to snag a rich and handsome husband. A former dancer-turned-actress, Hendrix has had a few small roles in other films, but this is her first time to really shine -- and she does.

Fans of the original movie may recognize the actress playing the mother of Hendrix's character. It's Joanna Barnes, who played the fiancee to Brian Keith's character in the 1960's version of "The Parent Trap."

Do you agree that "Parent Trap" has its charms? And what do you think of the caliber of children's movies being released this summer? Go to the boards!

Deft touch with remakes

After 37 years, this story still has a lot of heart, and it is sure to attract its target audience of pre-teen girls. Husband-and-wife filmmakers Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer also created the successful remake of "Father Of The Bride," and they once again display a deft touch for updating material even though the main story device is hopelessly outdated.

The monumental selfishness of separating twin sisters from each other and never letting them know about the other's existence is hard to swallow. Maybe that was alright in the 1960s, but today they'd all be on the Jerry Springer Show.

Add the fact that it takes more than a half hour for the girls to figure out that they're actually twins, and you have the two major flaws in this film.

But overall the sense of sweetness and light is overwhelming in this airy confection. "The Parent Trap" is A GO especially for young girls, but there is enough here so parents will also be amused. Don't get me wrong. It does get a little saccharine here and there, and you may suffer from sugar overload, but it's a nice change of pace from the usual bang, bang, shoot'em up summer fare.

"Parent Trap" is rated PG, with a running time of 124 minutes.

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