When Childhood Movies Don’t Disappoint: The Parent Trap

I noticed the original Hayley Mills Parent Trap was put on Netflix a few weeks ago. This was a movie I’d watched a number of times as a kid, and I always really remembered it fondly. Which, these days, is usually a good sign that I should avoid watching it again. I’ve been burned by my earlier bad taste too many times. But the thing with childhood favorites is I always feel compelled to pass them on to my children. If I liked the movie back then, won’t they like it now?

So we watched it together as a family the other night. And for once, I discovered that the movie held up remarkably well. I still really enjoyed it from start to finish.

For those of you who don’t know, the movie’s about twins whose parents divorced when they were babies. Mom went to Boston, Dad went to California, and they each took a child with them. Because who cares about what the kids think, right?

Fast forward a decade or so, and through a strange coincidence, the twins end up at the exact same summer camp. They can’t stand each other at first, but they become friends and deduce they’re actually siblings. Since they’re identical, and each wants to meet the parent they don’t know, they swap places and parents when they leave camp. The ultimate goal, of course, is to reunite their parents and convince them that they still love each other. But there’s a twist: Dad’s met a new woman, and he’s planning on getting married soon, so the twins are going to have to accelerate their plans a fair bit.

Comedy ensues.

It’s really a pleasure from start to finish. Sure, there’s a bit of clunky acting now and then. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Hayley Mills was acting with herself, so responses are tough. But the special effects still stand up, and the story’s a lot of fun too (as long as you don’t think too hard about it). The family enjoyed it, and I can happily recommend the movie to anyone else looking for a fun evening with their kids.

Well done, Disney.

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