Lindsay Lohan has had a rough few years, basically all of them since she was twelve. So let’s not spend our time wallowing in the drug-induced coma her life has become, instead let’s go back to a happier time, a time when she was twelve and remade The Parent Trap. The glory years! That’s how I refer to my elementary school years too.
What a fantastic movie this is! A remake of the 1961 classic starring Hayley Mills, this 1998 reboot goes ginger! With a freckle for every lost dream, Lindsay Lohan is an ADORABLE lil wisp of a thing. But what she lacks in body mass, she makes up for in heart. Every other line out of her mouth was a sassy quip, often a little too advanced for her age but HEY if you can’t embrace a sassy child speaking about things before their time, what do you even have in this world?
Lindsay plays twins Annie & Hallie. Annie is a sweet British child who wears flats. Girl, you have your whole life to wear appropriate footwear! Embrace these years when people can’t get mad at you for wearing flip flops to formal events. Hallie is more my speed, a spritely quick-talker from Napa, California. She has pierced ears and wears metallic nail polish so right from the get-go you knew she was the “cool” one.
Our heroines (thought about leaving that ‘e’ off to make a relevant but cruel pun as commentary for Lindsay’s life now, but thought better of it) end up going to an all girls camp. One of the throwaway jokes from the beginning was that a boy was sent there as a mistake and all throughout their time at camp he keeps popping up, usually in a state of despair or lament at the unfortunate situation he finds himself in. This is one of my favorite parts of the film.
So, they’re at camp- which seems to be a lot funner than I remember summer camps being. I was waiting for the scene where they feel social alienation and fail a swim test, but not these girls! This camp is an oddity: no cruelty, but they do have fencing! Both girls happen to be excellent at fencing (what???) and they duel and both have ‘met their match’ so to speak. This scene bothered me because first of all how do they know how to fence at all, and second of all even if they somehow miraculously both devoted a substantial amount of time to fencing despite being literally 11, they are way too good. Like, Hallie does a running jump off a tree-trunk and Annie does a spin into a backflip on a bale of hay. These are Zorro level fencing skills and I did not appreciate the inaccuracy.
The fencing battle ends with them both in a water trough and PISSED. They unveil and all the kids are like “Whoa you guys are genetically mirror images of each other!” and Annie is like, “Whoa this is crazy!” But Hallie is like, what are you talking about, also good luck growing into those ears” and then everybody else INCLUDING the counselor in this scene is like, “Lol, Hallie you crazy” then they all leave. The fact that no adults commented on the fact that two campers from different countries were physical facsimiles of one another forces me to conclude that this camp was a front for drugs. Which actually makes more sense for Lindsay Lohan’s life after filming, but I digress. (Y’all I know I’m ragging on Lindsay pretty hard but that’s only because I believe in her so much and she seems like a person who only responds to tough love. If say, Amanda Bynes had starred in this movie, we’d all be in a very different place).
This fencing match sets the stage for an all out prank war between the two girls and their respective cabins, again that was much too advanced. At one point we are supposed to believe that a group of eleven year old girls who probably collectively weigh 200 pounds, were able to move an entire cabin’s worth of WOODEN furniture (beds, dressers, beds, tables, full length twin beds) onto the roof of said cabin. THE ROOF. I helped my friend move this week and it was hard moving a regular mattress 20 feet at ground level. But again, if this camp was a drug front and they were all snorting meth, then yes it makes perfect sense. I’m one of a few Parent Trap truthers, and our voices need to be heard!!!!
But soon, the counselors catch on to this battle and send Annie and Hallie to the “Isolation Cabin.” This is a cabin miles from any of the other camp buildings that doesn’t seem to have the usual amenities and is honestly pretty run down and abandoned. WHAT KIND OF CAMP IS THIS?? Unless you waterboard people who try to short you on a shipment of heroin, I don’t see the need for this secluded shack in the middle of the woods. But this is where they go.
At first they hate each other and they have a continual “battle of wills” over things like lighting, but soon they find common ground in snacking preferences. “You eat oreos with peanut butter? I eat oreos with peanut butter!! There’s no one else like us!!!” This bothered me because it’s such a bonding moment between them and they agree that, “everyone else thinks it’s disgusting,” but chocolate and peanut butter is literally one of the most popular flavor combinations that exists. Every second person on the planet (if not more) finds it pleasing. If she had busted out a can of tuna fish then started putting peanut butter on it, I would have been like yes, this is warranted, you’re both freaks and you deserve this bond you share.
Slowly but surely they put the pieces together. Namely the pieces of a photograph they share and find out, WE’RE TWINS!!! All the hate is replaced with love and soon they develop a plan to SWITCH PLACES (foreshadowing to Lindsay’s next remake, Freaky Friday). This spurs a wonderful montage where they teach each other the secrets and details of their own lives. When you’re 11 this adorable but I was thinking of how that would be if they were say 25 and it’s only sad and depressing. “When you go into the liquor store, Henry is in the back. You nod slightly downward at him and he will give you the off-brand whiskey. When paying only use cash because the strip on the card reader is broken. The homeless man outside is Ronald and you have to say bye to him when you leave, otherwise he will start yelling .”
Their’s is like, secret handshakes with your butler and how to ride your horse through the vineyard when it’s raining. Oh also they are both rich, evinced by said Butler and Vineyard.
This takes them 8 weeks and soon it is time to leave camp. (If only it had been this easy for the Jews 😦 ). So they switch places (Did the Holocaust reference take you out of this piece? I’m sorry I’m working on tone. That was a terrible time in history. Please enjoy this lighthearted review of The Parent Trap!) and Annie goes to California and Hallie goes to London.
All is well for the girls until OH NO DAD, played by a very young and very handsome Dennis Quaid, is engaged to an evil blonde woman! Now, I say woman because she seemed like an adult to me when I first watched this movie but in this most recent viewing, she states her age and she is 26. TWENTY-SIX. WE ARE PEERS. This was crazy to me. Mostly because in no way am I capable of parlaying my looks into a ploy to trap a man in a loveless engagement for his money, but alas. One day.
Her name in the movie is Meredith Blake, the perfect evil woman name, and she is so pretty and so evil. (This actress, Elaine Hendrix, also plays one of the A-List in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion if you were wondering).
This puts a hitch in the plan and suddenly everything is put into hyperdrive. Also in case you forgot what 1998 was like, this distressing situation was communicated by fax.
The girls are desperately trying to break up the new engagement AND get their parents back together. Lofty goals for people who still call books longer than 100 pages, “chapter books.” Hallie decides to spill the beans to her mom and they get on a plane and fly to the hotel where Annie tells them Meredith and Nick (Dad) will be.
Also sidenote: earlier I talked a lot about all Lindsay Lohan’s failings, but the real tragedy of this movie is that Natasha Richardson, beautiful and talented Natasha Richardson, died prematurely in a skiing accident in 2009. HOW DO PEOPLE PUT THEIR FAITH IN A GOD THAT WOULD TAKE NATASHA RICHARDSON FROM US? This post has gotten pretty dark but sometimes life is dark
There is a wonderful camping trip that has your classic camping hijinks, lizard in the hair/mouth, rocks in the backpack, sugar water as bug repellant, air mattress on the river, etc. Plus plenty of trout. On this trip Meredith’s true nature (lol) comes through and she angrily gives Nick an ultimatum, “Them or me!” and hopefully to no one’s surprise, he picks his children. Here’s a tip for ultimatums: Never make the choice between you and someone’s children. Chances are, they probably really like their children.
So the engagement is off and she slinks back to whatever 24 hour gym she escaped from and it seems like the family is ready to be whole again. However, Natasha, who in the movie is famous wedding dress designer Elizabeth James, (basically all the Jane Austen characters combined into one) isn’t feeling it so she takes Annie and goes back to England. But surprise! They followed you! Nick and Hallie are waiting for them when they get home (I think this movie gave children of divorce unrealistic expectations: just trick your parents into spending time together, they’ll fall in love again!)
Everyone is together, even the butler, Martin and Nick’s helper (her relationship to the family is never really explained) Chessy. All this time I thought her name was Jessie, but no, it’s Chessy.
Anyway, all is well and they all live happily ever after!!