A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that even though it's funny and has a warm heart and happy ending, this Disney remake is about divorce and reconciliation and could require some explanation and reassurance. It's a complicated, unlikely story spun as a fanciful tale: The parents have lied to their kids, neither twin is aware of the other’s existence, and each has been kept from one parent for eleven years. Deceit plays an important part in the movie's plot (albeit all in the name of family togetherness). Wine is consumed in several scenes, and the twins’ mother gets slightly drunk before she faces her ex-husband. An ear-piercing scene results in an “ewww” moment, and a poker game results in a girl’s embarrassing naked dive into a lake (a very wide shot).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
This remake of 1961's THE PARENT TRAP stars Lindsay Lohan as both Hallie and Annie, twin girls separated at birth who meet up at summer camp and decide to switch places. Their father, Nick (Dennis Quaid), owns a vineyard, and their mother, Elizabeth (Natasha Richardson), designs wedding gowns. Meredith (Elaine Hendrix), their dad's scheming girlfriend, hopes to marry Nick for his money -- so Hallie and Annie set out to get their parents back together, and while they're at it, make life miserable for Meredith.
Is it any good?
This is a delightful remake of the Hayley Mills classic. Lohan is utterly adorable and does a masterful job of creating two separate characters, each of whom spends a large part of the movie impersonating the other. But divorced parents should make sure that their children have no illusions of a reconciliation, and all parents should make sure that while it may be charming for the children in the movie to manipulate their parents, it isn't appropriate for real life.
Kids who enjoy this version will get a kick out of comparing it to the original. Make sure that they notice Joanna Barnes, who plays Vicki (the fiancee) in the original, playing Vicki (the fiancee's mother) in the remake.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about divorce. How does this movie portray divorce? Is it realistic? Parents may want to reassure kids if they're distressed by the fact that the parents split up the twins and made no attempt to see the child they gave up.
How does this movie compare to the original? Why are some remakes good, while others pale in comparison to the original?
- In theaters: January 1, 1999
- On DVD or streaming: June 1, 2004
- Cast: Dennis Quaid, Lindsay Lohan, Natasha Richardson
- Director: Nancy Meyers
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters
- Run time: 127 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild mischief
- Last updated: March 16, 2020
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