Double Lohan = Double Trouble
Is the 1998 remake of "The Parent Trap" better than the 1961 version, no, is it any good, yes. In fact as remakes go "The Parent Trap" is surprisingly enjoyable and most certainly delivers an update on the original movie for younger audiences who would possibly find the 1961 version cheesy. Director Nancy Meyers does a nice job of keeping the story the same, often being identical but then changing a few things which would feel wrong in this day and age. And whilst Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson may struggle in comparison to Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara, Lindsay Lohan is great fun as Hallie and Annie, delivering a wonderfully assured and unaffected performance from such a young girl.
When Hallie Parker (Lindsay Lohan) shows up for summer camp she is expecting just a few weeks of fun by the lake and so does Annie James (Lindsay Lohan) who has shown up from London, England. What neither of them expects is a life changing event but that is what happens when they come face to face and realise that they are twins, separated when they were just babies because their parents divorced and for all these years knew nothing about each other. Having decided to switch places so that Annie can meet her father and Hallie can meet her mother whilst pretending to be each other things go wrong as Annie pretending to be Hallie learns that her dad Nick Parker (Dennis Quaid - Wyatt Earp) is looking to get married again to an evil younger woman. So whilst Annie tries to break things up Hallie tries to get her mum Elizabeth James (Natasha Richardson - Maid in Manhattan) to got with her to America to try and reunite their parents.
So as already mentioned this version of "The Parent Trap" stays very true to the 1961 version with much of the story being like for like. That's not a complaint because everything which still worked from the 1961 version has been included in this remake. As such we still have the summer camp, the amusing realisation that they are twins whilst stuck in the isolation cabin and plenty of summer camp japes. And the storyline plays out in exactly the same way with Annie pretending to be Hallie discover that their father is planning to get married and so the twins not only try and sabotage the relationship but reunite their parents at the same time. Basically all the fun and the fantasy of the 1961 movie is present and works.
But whilst for the most it is like for like there are some changes and embellishments with some of them working whilst others not. The introduction which takes us back to when the twins parents married seems like padding although is part of the bigger picture. And whilst we now have Annie having a butler which at times is seriously cringe worthy it does then give us a bit of predictable romance with the house keeper at Hallie's home. Add to that subtle changes such as Hallie's dad now having a vine yard and Annie's mum being a London based wedding dress designer and for the most these little changes work.
What doesn't quite work, or at least for me, is the casting of Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson as the divorced parents. I suppose they make a nice looking couple and their is some fun flirtations between them when the twins get them together but they don't have the fiery temperament which Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara delivered and so it just seems to be lacking something, maybe it's just a case of being too nice.
But to be honest the star of "The Parent Trap" is Lindsay Lohan who not only delivers a confident and unaffected performance is also so much fun from beginning to end. There is this energy, wit and cuteness about her which blends together to make her very likeable and in the scenes of mischief making very amusing. And considering this was Lohan's first movie her handling of having to play two parts and I would guess at times act with an imaginary person next to her is remarkable.
What this all boils down to is that the 1998 version of "The Parent Trap" is a surprisingly good movie and an enjoyable remake. It has that nice blend of keeping plenty of the original movie but updating it slightly so that newer audiences can enjoy the fantasy tale. And in her first movie Linday Lohan impresses from start to finish as she tackles both roles with confidence.