Friday, July 31, 1998 | 10:31 a.m.
* Grades: Jeff B; Dave B.
* Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Elaine Hendrix and Simon Kunz.
* Director: Nancy Myers.
* Screenplay: David Swift, Nancy Myers and Charles Shyer.
* Rated: PG for some mild mischief.
* Running time: 127 minutes.
* Playing at: Rancho Santa Fe 16, Century Orleans 12, Cinedome 12 Henderson, ACT III Boulder Station, ACT III Village Square, UA Green Valley.
"The Parent Trap" is the tale of identical twin sisters, separated shortly after birth by the break-up of their parents -- "his and hers" joke the twins. They are raised on different continents by their two successful parents. Unaware of each other's existence, the girls coincidentally meet at summer camp in Maine. Eager to meet their respective parents, they devise a scheme to switch places and, ultimately, reunite their mom and dad.
Once again, the creative minds at Disney have taken another of their classics and recycled it into a major release. No, it's not "The Horse in a Gray Flannel Suit," though that might not be a bad remake. It is the 1961 classic "The Parent Trap." This updated version makes for a perfect vehicle in the '90s, with modern day issues such as divorce, parental rights and child custody. The times have certainly changed, and Disney takes advantage of that with an heir to Hayley Mills in the bright and delightful Lindsay Lohan.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing a historic moment in the realm of film criticism: David Neil is praising the Disney remake of "The Parent Trap." This is the same critic who panned the remake of Disney's "That Darn Cat" and "Flubber" which, strangely enough, I thoroughly enjoyed. Come on board, Dave! There's room enough on the bandwagon. I wouldn't call Lindsay Lohan a new Hayley Mills, because what Lohan brings to this updated classic is something that Mills couldn't -- charm. The original had a screwball comedy feel to it, much like other Disney films of the 1960s. With the improvement of special effects, Lohan certainly met the challenge of playing the dual roles of identical twin sisters. She is a real treasure.
First off, Jeff, I can't help the fact that such movie rehashes as "Flubber" and "101 Dalmatians" (which, I need to remind you, you did not care for either) make for better bait in the video bins at your local video rental store, as opposed to passing themselves off as true Disney classics. Besides, if you're riding on any bandwagon, believe me, I'll be the last one to hop on board. Secondly, Lohan, who is making her feature film debut, plays the roles of Hallie and Annie to perfection. She varies the twin sisters with different reactions and expressions upon their discovery of each other and the introduction to their estranged parents.
OK, Dave. There is a big difference in remaking a live-action movie versus turning an animated classic into a feature film with real actors. I know I didn't care for "101 Dalmatians." It's not in the same category. Upon hearing of the new "Parent Trap," I knew that casting agents could somehow find a talented young girl to play the demanding dual roles of the twin sisters, but where are they going to find a couple to compare with original parents Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara? Wonders never cease, because they found them:
Dennis Quaid is ideal as Nick Parker. He's funny, romantic and the perfect balance to Natasha Richardson, who plays a highly successful fashion designer. Her beauty and charm evoke memories of Grace Kelly every time Richardson ambles into a scene. This is not only a great family film, but a winsome romantic escapade.
You know, folks, if Jeff doesn't get the last word on anything, he usually goes on a crying, hissy fit that is reminiscent of Baby Herman from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." I would love to hear Jeff explain to me the difference between a "live-action" remake and an "animated classic" remake. But since we don't have the time, let me just point out that the key word we are emphasizing here is "remake," and very seldom have they worked.
Writer/director Nancy Meyers and writer/producer Charles Shyer have been a successful team for years. In fact, the duo made Steve Martin a hit two times over with "The Father of the Bride" and its sugar-coated sequel "Father of the Bride Part II." So who better to take a Disney classic and turn it into great family fare? "The Parent Trap" is no doubt the sleeper of the summer.
I'm just going to ignore Dave, everybody. Instead, I will say that "The Parent Trap" is a welcome summer delight, with a fanciful score by Alan Silvestri, sensational images by cinematographer Dean A. Cundey, and a gorgeous production design by Dean Tavoulalris. The film just looks stunning. This is the family event of the summer, and is sure to capture the imagination of a whole generation and become an instant classic all over again. It sure beats going to camp.
Someday, my prints will come ...:
Here's a question: What if you went to your local theater to see a movie -- and it wasn't there? Such a scenario has executives at DreamWorks SKG more than a little upset. A not-so-minor glitch in Technicolor Laboratory's delivery system delayed more than 100 prints of "Saving Private Ryan" from arriving at some theaters last Friday. Daily Variety reported that the snafu may have cost the studio millions of dollars. The trade paper also quoted studio sources as saying that "heads would roll" because of the delay. Despite the foul-up, the film still took in an amazing $30.6 million its opening weekend.
Director David Fincher ("Seven," "The Game") may have found a leading lady for his next film, "The Black Dahlia." According to a report from the BBC, "Mask of Zorro" actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is eyeing the female lead in the thriller. The film will be based on the James Ellroy police novel about one of America's most infamous unsolved murder mysteries. Zeta-Jones would play the title character, a young woman who was brutally murdered in late 1940s Los Angeles. The victim made headlines as the Black Dahlia, and her murder sparked the greatest manhunt in California history.
George Clooney's production company and Warner Bros. have bought a pitch based on the 1980s cult comic book "Dead World." Todd Alcott (DreamWorks SKG's "Antz") will script the film and Mark Pavia ("Stephen King's The Night Flier") will direct. Set in the near future, the film will be a gruesome horror-comedy-thriller about a busload of teens trying to survive in a world overrun by flesh-eating zombies.
NAME THAT FLICK
We had a flood of calls for last week's quote: "English prisoners! Lets us ask the question: Why does the bridge not progress? You know why: Because your officers are lazy!" Our hotline was completely full. Thanks to everyone who called, but the winner was Lance Franciscan, who was first to call and correctly identify the quote spoken by Sessue Hayakawa in "The Bridge on the River Kwai."
What, Lance? Blow up the bridge? That's madness! Way to go, Lance.
Now, for this week, who said this and in what film: "Never judge things by their appearance -- even carpetbags." Does it sound familiar? If you think you know, call The Movie Guys Hotline at 225-9026 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to spell your name and leave your daytime phone number, and if you're the first correct caller/e-mailer, we will print your name right here in our column for the entire Las Vegas Valley to read.
See you next week!
THE MOVIE GUYS, starring Jeff Howard and Dave Neil, appears every Friday in the Sun (additional material provided by Thomas Feeney). You can also read their capsule reviews of movies in Las Vegas Weekly magazine and watch their reviews every Friday on Channel 3's 11 p.m. newscast. Plus, check them out online at: www.lasvegassun.com/sun/sunlife/movies.