The Parent Trap

on July 31, 1998 by Luisa F. Ribeiro
   Thirty-seven years after the original Walt Disney version of "The Parent Trap," a delightful remake hits the screen that is every bit as fun and entertaining as the Hayley Mills original.
   Writers David Swift, Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer (the latter two who teamed for "Baby Boom" and "Father of the Bride" I and II) wisely don't fiddle much with the story (based, as was the first film, on the book "Das Doppelte Lottchen" by Erich Kastner), which finds a pair of identical twin sisters separated at birth accidentally meeting at summer camp. Prim British Annie James and feisty American Hallie Parker (both played with remarkable ease by young feature newcomer and TV veteran Lindsay Lohan) take an active dislike to one another until their subsequent tit-for-tat pranks land them together in the isolation cabin where they discover each is missing the opposite parent.
   Upon realizing their common parentage, they scheme to switch places so each can meet the parent they have never known. Annie becomes Hallie to meet Dad Nick (Dennis Quaid), who runs a winery in Northern California, and Hallie stifles herself to meet Mum Elizabeth, a chic fashion designer in London. The girls' further plan to reunite their parents kick into high gear when Nick reveals he is engaged to the insufferably bitchy Meredith (Elaine Hendrix).
   Lohan handles playing against herself with aplomb (while also nailing a very credible Brit accent) and the special effects make the twin scenes flow seamlessly together. Quaid and Richardson spark nicely (although in some of the comedy bits Richardson is distractingly reminiscent of Emma Thompson), and Hendrix is devilishly loathsome. Lively support is offered by Lisa Ann Walter and Simon Kunz as Hallie and Annie's respective homefront sidekicks.
   Location shooting in both California and London provide nice eye-filling scenery.
   In her directorial debut Meyers is comfortably assured and keeps the pleasant antics moving along at a carefree clip, using the playful energy of her stars and a lively soundtrack of pop tunes geared especially towards nostalgic baby boomers. There are a few fun teases for the same audience, one of which includes a clever cameo by an original cast member. But the kids will also love it, especially girls, and a good time is absolutely guaranteed for all.    Starring Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson. Written by David Swift and Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer. Directed by Nancy Meyers. Produced by Charles Shyer. A Buena Vista release. Comedy. Rated PG for some mild mischief. Running time: 127 min.
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