Sometimes, in Best Buy, you come across DVDs with The Parent Trap and The Parent Trap II on them. I have never bought one. There are two reasons for this. One is that I remember thinking even as a child that it was very bad. The other is that I have the lovely Vault Disney edition of The Parent Trap, and the two-movie set is guaranteed to be a drop in quality and doesn’t have the special features and so forth. Frankly, I didn’t even remember the plot, because I didn’t care. But we were discussing things the other day, and I remembered the existence of this, and it’s so bonkers you have to know about it.
We do start with Hayley Mills as Sharon and Susan. Sharon got married in the last one, I guess, and Susan is divorced. (In fact, Sharon’s character was a divorced single mother whose daughter’s name is Nikki Ferris.) Susan’s an interior decorator. She’s been hired by a woman named Cassie McGuire (Patricia Richardson). Cassie is engaged to Jeffrey Wyatt (Barry Bostwick), the widowed father of three girls—Megan, Lisa, and Jessie. Played by Joy, Leanna, and Monica Creel, who are indeed triplets. They’ve been away all summer—Lisa to Paris, and we never do find out where the other two went—and Jeffrey never told the girls about Cassie. Meanwhile, Lisa has brought home some guy named Hawk (Jon Pennell), which is a problem because she’s already got a boyfriend, David (Chris Gartin).
It turns out Jessie is really in love with David, so there’s goings-on there. And the girls all really hate Cassie, because she’s pretty loathsome. Without truly consulting him, she’s completely redoing his home in what sounds like the most God-awful tacky ’80s yuppie kind of way. The girls meet Sharon, who is willing to help them and knows a little bit about using shenanigans to hook up two people who don’t seem to like each other very much. Though it helps that Jeffrey doesn’t seem to like Cassie very much, either.
Now, I say this is Sharon and Susan, but not for the most part. Susan, yes. Sharon? No, not really. She’s there at the beginning, for Jeffrey to be confused by, and she’s there at the end, to . . . be in the movie? Honestly, the plot doesn’t for the most part need triplets, except I guess for the part where two of them change places with one another and it probably makes the climax a little easier because Cassie can’t tell them apart. In general, though, the majority of the plot would truck along just fine without either of its main gimmicks.
Especially because Megan isn’t really given enough personality to make her necessary to the story. Joy has done the least acting of the three—six TV credits and one movie, all with her sisters—so maybe she’s not really all that interested in acting. Maybe—and this is not intended to shame her—she’s not as good as her sisters, or maybe she’s just not as interested in acting. Let’s be real; it’s impossible to tell how good any of them are from this movie, much less the sister with the fewest lines. Still, whether Joy’s interested in acting or not, she seems okay with her life. After all, her family’s rolling in that sweet, sweet comic book money; she’s been married to Rob Liefeld since 1995.
Leanna and Monica have both done more acting. In fact, they’re “Twin #1” and “Twin #2” in Freeway, a movie in which Joy does not appear. They’ve also done a few things without one another. Monica was on ten episodes of The Kicks. Leanna did ten episodes of Saved by the Bell, well after its “Miss Bliss” days of course but still. She was also a producer on But I’m a Cheerleader. She also played twins all by herself on an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, which seems unnecessarily complicated. How much did they save by not hiring Leanna or Joy?
You might notice I’m talking a lot more about the triplets than the plot. And . . . yes. Yes, I am. They’re more interesting. Which Disney seems to have known. They found a set of acting triplets and worked out how to make a movie around them, and when Hayley Mills became available—I believe because of the retooling of Saved by the Bell, in fact—they made it a vague Parent Trap sequel. Okay, that’s fine. Nothing wrong with that. It’s just that there’s not much right about it, either.
Note: Yes, my article image is terrible and low-res; you should see the YouTube video I watched of the movie.