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‘Parent Trap’ Catches New Generation

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In this remake of “The Parent Trap,” 11-year-old twins (played by Lindsay Lohan), separated as infants, meet by accident at summer camp and scheme to get their parents (Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson) back together. (Rated PG.)

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“The Parent Trap” has endured as a favorite fable since 1961, when Disney turned a 1950 German book into a classic tale of love lost and refound.

Fans who turned out for a sneak preview were not disappointed by the update, which faithfully follows the plot, down to some dialogue and a brief humming of “Let’s Get Together,” but adds extra romance and emotion, scenes and characters.

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Here, young ones liked the pranks that begin at camp between Annie, raised by her mother, a wedding gown designer in London, and Hallie, raised by her father, who owns a vineyard in Napa.

The girls start out rivals; one puts the cots on the cabin roof; the other retaliates by spreading honey and whipped cream over the campers at night. When they find out they are sisters, they agree to trade places, then plot against their father’s gold-digger fiancee, Meredith Blake--a deliciously nasty Elaine Hendrix--during a camping trip.

They replace Meredith’s mosquito repellent with sugar water and fill her backpack with rocks. “It was funny when they put her into the lake,” said 6-year-old Nikki Tong of Irvine. “And when the lizard went into her mouth.”

Adria Rood, 13, of Irvine, also liked a new scene at a San Francisco hotel where the twins have schemed to bring parents Elizabeth and Nick, and Meredith. “I liked how they didn’t spend the whole time around the dad’s house,” she said.

Most actors came off better than did those in the original, according to kids. But the cute, freckle-faced Lohan couldn’t rival Hayley Mills, they said (Lohan is 10 here; Mills was 15).

“I liked the way Hayley Mills . . . did the parts,” said Adria’s sister Natalie Rood, 12, also of Irvine.

One problem for Adria was the girls’ idyllic lives. “Some parts were hard to believe,” she said. “Everything was exactly, like, perfect.”

One could also question how well the premise fits the ‘90s, an age of joint-custody and parenting plans.


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