I saw this re-make most reluctantly. After all, I thought, how could it compare to the original blockbuster hit of the same name, which starred the adorable British actress, Hayley Mills? Well, to my complete surprise, this film is a winner in its own right. Reprising the dual roles played by Hayley Mills, a young Lindsay Lohan, in her silver screen debut, is surprisingly effective and adorable, making the dual roles her own.
For those of you unfamiliar with the premise of the film, two girls, Hallie Parker and Annie James (Lindsay Lohan), meet at summer camp. They look exactly alike. One lives with her father, while the other lives with her mother. They soon figure out the previously unknown but inescapable fact that they are twins, separated shortly after birth, each of whom lives with one of their biological parents. They both long to know the parent that is missing from their respective lives. So, they concoct a plan that will allow them to do so, leading to a scheme to reunite their estranged parents. They simply switch places, when it comes time to return home. Their reunion scheme is almost derailed, however, when their biological father seems to have romantic designs on someone else.
This comedic caper focuses on the intrigues of the twins as they try to get the potential usurper out of their father's life and re-unite their parents. Lindsay Lohan is simply terrific in the dual roles of Hallie and Annie, infusing a great deal of charm and personality into her portrayal of the twins. Natasha Richardson is wonderful in the role of the mother, Elizabeth James. While she lacks the feistiness of Maureen O'Hara, who originally played the role, Ms. Richardson manages to make the role her own with her low-key charm. Dennis Quaid is terrific as Nick Parker, the handsome, hunky father, who is the besotted prey of a gold digging, scheming, statuesque blonde (Elaine Hendrix). I actually like his performance better than that of Brian Keith, who played this role in the original.
Blonde bombshell Elaine Hendrix is effective as Meredith Blake, the potential wicked step-mother, who quickly sees her own scheme to marry a wealthy husband go up in flames as the twins plot against her. Lisa Ann Walter is simply wonderful as Nick Parker's good-hearted housekeeper, infusing the role with a rich warmth. Simon Kunz is very funny in the role of Martin, the James' butler, creating a memorable character, and Ronnie Stevens is perfectly cast as the maternal grandfather, Charles James.
As to whether or not their mother and father will be re-united, as the twins so desire, watch this film and find out. Although Lindsay Lohan does not sing the popular signature song, "Let's Get Together", which Hayley Mills sang in the original film, the viewer will not be disappointed by this re-make. Disney Studios, which is the studio responsible for both the original and the re-make, has created a terrific little comedic gem in its own right with this film.