Follow TV Tropes


Film / Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

Go To

A 1993 children's Made-for-TV Movie directed by Stuart Margolin that has twin girls (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) finding out their evil aunt is a witch who has imprisoned her own twin sister in a mirror and racing against time to free their good aunt.

The movie also stars Cloris Leachman, Meschach Taylor, Eric McCormack, Wayne Robson, and Matthew Taylor.

It aired on ABC on October 30, 1993.

Tropes for the film:

  • All Witches Have Cats: Aunt Agatha is an evil witch that owns a cat.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: While discussing their daughters' twin angst, Christine gives a very good one that gives both parents pause:
    Don: Kids are stronger than we think. They get over it.
    Christine: I don't know...Agatha never did.
    (Beat. Don murmurs, uneased.)
  • Bluff the Imposter: Using her magic, Agatha impersonates Sofia to gain Kelly's trust. Suspicious, Kelly asks if they can go home and enjoy her favorite cookies, chocolate chip. During an early baking session with her mother, Christine (who was very close with Sofia) said cinnamon cookies were Sofia's favorite, so Kelly immediately realizes the ruse when Agatha doesn't correct her.
  • Brick Joke: The twins and Mr. N stowaway on a pumpkin truck to get going, but he ends up accidentally causing an accident and forces them to hoof it while the driver dealt with the mess. It later turns out the truck was going to deliver pumpkins to the witches' gathering that Agatha was attending, leaving the attendees confused over what happened.
  • Charm Person: Aunt Agatha places a spell on her sister's fiancé to make him think he's her butler after trapping her sister on the other side of a mirror.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The gravedigger's name goes unmentioned, even in the credits.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Mr. N hopes to enrich himself in all this, and he even tries to make a deal with Agatha to return the moonstone. However, one of his conditions is that Kelly (who was hiding with him) be left alone.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Agatha is as hammy as she is vile, being constantly over the top regardless of the situation.
  • Eye of Newt: The twins overhear a group of witches discussing their methods of brewing potions. One of the witches can be heard asking another if she uses a microwave.
  • Forced Transformation: Agatha turns Mr. N into a crow for annoying her. She later turns Oscar and the gravedigger into turtles for standing in her way.
  • Godzilla Threshold: At risk of becoming homeless in a matter of days, Christine hopes to convince Agatha into giving them a loan, but she does genuinely want to reach out to a family member and mend old bonds. Don, however, makes it clear he's only bothering with this visit on the incredibly unlikely chance that someone he really doesn't like gives them the money.
  • Harmful to Minors: Observing what goes on at the witches' gathering, Kelly remarks she won't be getting any sleep until she's 21.
  • Height Angst: Oscar is a little person and says he was subjected to a lot of ridicule for it. The twins find he lives in a house out in the woods far from people. He says he spends his downtime looking in a funhouse mirror that makes him look taller than he is.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After the group successfully snatches the moonstone, Mr. N wants to be the one to hold on to it.
    Oscar: I don't think so. How will we know you're not gonna run off with it?
    Mr. N: Oscar, no trust. That is what is wrong with the world today. Anyway, how do we know that you won't run off with it?
  • Ironic Echo: While preparing for the witches' gathering, a giddy Agatha cackles: "I love Halloween!" Later, after she is defeated and sucked into the mirror herself with no way out, she curses in anger: "I hate Halloween!"
  • Karmic Transformation: Mr. N gets transformed into a crow by Agatha who notes it was easy as "he was crooked to begin with." Luckily, this starts him on his path to redemption.
  • Lovable Coward: The gravedigger is desperately afraid of witches and all other things related to Halloween. He'd rather hide in a well-lit place or run away, but he ultimately tries to help the twins.
    Gravedigger: I guess being brave isn't about not being scared; it's about being scared but doing what you have to do, anyway.
    Agatha: Isn't that nice? He found the moral of the story.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Comes from the Weird Sisters' song in Macbeth (Act IV, Scene I):
    Double, double, toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
    • Also serves as a Pun-Based Title, since it's about twins. (Two sets of them, no less.)
  • Mundane Utility: Agatha did use her supernatural powers to make herself incredibly wealthy, but she's also shown using the moonstone for such trivial things as changing traffic lights just so that she won't be late to where she's going.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When it comes out that he tried to return the moonstone to Agatha in exchange for a payday, Mr. N fully acknowledges how that was quite shameful. He proceeds to make up for it by keeping it away from her now.
  • Noodle Incident: The gravedigger explains that a truly bad witch lived in the house two hundreds years ago. She was burned at the stake by the locals, but not before she managed to hide away the moonstone.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Agatha is generally unpleasant, so she doesn't really treat Don any differently than she does Christine or anyone else. Don, however, is quite open in his dislike of her and would rather talk to anyone else.
  • Oh, Crap!: Agatha, upon learning that Don and Christine have twins. It's later explained that's part of how to break the spell trapping Sofia.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Mr. N is consistently referred to as that, though he uses his real name (Plato Naufzagger) when introducing himself to the gravedigger.
  • Phantom-Zone Picture: The major conflict of the plot is the Farmer twins' attempts to free their Aunt Sofia from a mirror she was trapped in by her twin. This is somewhere between the third and fourth versions of the trope.
  • The Power of Love: The magic words to free Sofia are a heartfelt apology and declaration of love between Kelly and Lynn. Resentment between sisters is what caused the banishment into the mirror, so a reconciliation is what undoes it.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Oscar suspects that Mr. N would run off with the moonstone for himself.
    • Kelly tries to warn Mr. N that Agatha will never honor any deal he tries to make with her.
  • Race Against the Clock: A two-fer. The spell trapping Sofia in the mirror becomes permanent at the stroke of midnight, while the folks are going to lose their house in a couple of days. The twins set out to save Sofia from a ghastly fate and in the hopes she'll give their parents a much needed loan.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: In setting out to save their aunt, the twins end up recruiting a Jerk with a Heart of Gold homeless man, a party clown with Height Angst, and a timid gravedigger.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The mystical nature and unknown origins of the girls' magic wand.
  • Sad Clown: Oscar is a little person. He says that he became a party clown so that people would laugh with him because, otherwise, they usually laugh at him.
  • Self-Deprecation: The twins explain the whole situation to Oscar off-screen. Hearing it all himself, Mr. N says it's rather hard to believe.
  • Shadow Archetype: Lynn and Kelly are getting to the point where they're starting to resent being twins, as they have to share everything and hear the same tired jokes. Agatha and Sofia went through the same thing when they were children, but Agatha became rotten to the core and abusive towards her sister. Seeing how badly things went down between their older counterparts makes the younger twins resolve their own issues.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The twins had no idea they were days away from getting kicked out of their house, until an opportunistic real estate agent showed up and started blabbing. Hearing this is what motivates them to find and save Sofia.
  • This Cannot Be!: Aunt Agatha says this almost word for word when the twins manage to bring her sister out of the mirror world.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: The Olsen twins also play Sofia and Agatha in a flashback to when Agatha first found the moonstone.
  • Twin Desynch: Agatha used the moonstone to wish for this as a little girl, resulting in her becoming wicked. As adults, Sofia chopped off her long hair that matched Agatha's and threw it at her sister when she announced her plans to get married.
  • Unknown Character: Christine is the niece of both Agatha and Sofia, meaning one of her parents is their sibling. This person's identity and what became of them are never stated.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: It's an upbeat family movie overall, but the villain wants to trap her twin sister in a mirror forever, intends to bury that mirror just so her sister can never talk to anyone ever again, and threatens to kill the children opposing her.
  • Witch with a Capital "B": Mr. N describes Agatha as such, during the stand-off in her house.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Agatha openly talks about inflicting horrible suffering on the twins. She ultimately declares she'll turn them into mice and let her cat deal with them.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • The gravedigger knows all about the supernatural history of the house and what Agatha's been up to. As a result, his first meeting with Lynn and Kelly has him thinking they're the same person using magic to appear in two places at once.
    • Mr. N has a history of scams and fast-talking to survive on the streets, which he thinks will allow him to broker a deal with Agatha. He realizes just how out of his depth he is when she turns him into a crow.