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"His and Hers kids. No offense, Mom, but this arrangement really sucks."
Hallie Parker
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The Parent Trap is a 1998 Disney live-action film starring Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, and a young Lindsay Lohan in her feature film debut. It was also the directing debut of writer and director Nancy Meyers.

Twin sisters Hallie and Annie have been separated nearly at birth when their parents, Nick and Elizabeth, divorced. The year their father is considering remarrying, the sisters meet each other at summer camp. On meeting, they plot to get their parents back together, a plot that involves each pretending to be the other. Hilarity Ensues.

It's a remake of the 1961 Disney film The Parent Trap, which was itself based on a 1949 German book, Das doppelte Lottchen by Erich Kästner.


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The Parent Trap provides examples of:

  • '80s Hair: The wedding photo from 1986 shows Elizabeth sporting a thick fringe in the style of the decade.
  • '90s Hair: In the main story, on the other hand, Elizabeth's short layered cut makes her look a fair bit like Princess Diana.
  • Abbey Road Crossing: A second-long freeze frame as "Here Comes The Sun" plays in the background.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The parents are more civil towards each other in this adaptation, even bordering on Amicable Exes.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the original book, the father's fiancée is clearly an unsympathetic antagonist, but hardly a villain — she seemed to genuinely like the girls' father (even if attracted to his fame as well), wanted to have her own children with him and only planned to get rid of his daughter (by sending her to boarding school) after the latter came to her house to openly object to their marriage. In the movie she's portrayed as a Child Hater and Gold Digger (in the original, she's in fact much richer than her would-be husband) who Would Hurt a Child.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: The original movie ended with the parents falling back in love immediately after the evil fiancée is seen off. In the remake, it takes a little longer, with the deal not being sealed until Nick and Hallie follow Elizabeth and Annie home.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Making one of the twins British throws a huge wrench into the main plot. American summer holidays usually last between two and a half and three months. British students, on the other hand, don't get theirs until July, and only for six weeks. So unless Annie is home-schooled with a very lenient tutor, it's unlikely she'd even be able to go to Camp Walden in the first place (it's mentioned that the girls were at camp for eight weeks). In the original both twins were Americans, so it was no big deal.
  • Adaptational Nationality: The original film had both twins as Americans (though ironically played by a British girl), while the remake makes one twin British.
  • Adults Are Useless: The Marvas are strangely absent for a lot of scenes where their discipline would be required — especially with the stunt where Hallie and friends had their beds put on the cabin roof. There's also a rather suspicious lack of other counsellors around.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Meredith calls Nick "Nicky", which no one else does. Later in the film, he asks if it's okay to keep calling Elizabeth "Lizzie".
  • Always Identical Twins: The girls being identical twins is what allows them to pull the switch off. That being said, the girls' personalities are so different that they need weeks of coaching to really pull it off. Even then, little behavioral quirks slip through and get the adults suspicious, but then once together they use those same quirks to make it impossible to tell whose who, in an effort to avoid being split apart.
  • All There in the Script: The end credits give Grandfather's first name as Charles.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Hallie is certainly the more tomboyish of the twins and while she kept a Leonardo DiCaprio photo, seems to be attracted to (or at least impressed by) the Tie-Dye Girl. They're friends for the rest of the camp session.
    Hallie: (after seeing the Tie-Dye Girl lifting her bag out of the pile) Whoa, now that's my kind of woman!note 
  • And Starring: "Introducing Lindsay Lohan" accompanied by fireworks in the night sky.
  • Artistic Licence – History: "Where Dreams Have No End" is a real wine, but it was not produced until 1987. Nick and Elizabeth's wedding was in 1986.
  • Author Appeal: As in many Nancy Meyers movies, the setting is California. It's notable because in the original film, the story alternated between Boston and California — and Boston is replaced with London in the remake. It also deals with middle-aged people falling in love, as a lot of her films do.
  • Author Avatar: Annie and Hallie were named after the daughters of director Nancy Meyers and producer Chuck Shyer.
  • Bad to the Bone: When Hallie shows up in sunglasses to challenge Annie in poker, Bad to the Bone starts up, playing through their hotly-contested poker match.
  • Bathos: Elizabeth seeing her daughters together for the first time is played both as a heartwarming scene, as well as a comedic one (she shouts for Hallie, and both girls step outside, confusing her even further).
  • Beta Couple: Martin and Chessy meet and fall in love while helping Hallie and Annie to reunite Nick and Elizabeth.
  • Big Eater: Hallie eats a lot, but Annie doesn't. Chessie notices the difference in their appetite and comments on it, prompting the Internal Reveal. This, (along with Sammy the dog barking and growling at "Hallie") helps Chessy realize the girls have switched, and Annie confirms it later.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Annie takes news of her father remarrying so harshly, she rants in French. Elizabeth is also seen speaking French in a phone call just before Hallie reveals her identity to her.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The soon-to-be-step-mom for Hallie.
  • Blatant Lies: The twins convince Meredith that there are mountain lions in the area where they are camping (there aren't) and that the best way to keep them away is to loudly tap two sticks together.
  • Bonding Over Missing Parents: Leads to Annie and Hallie realizing that each is living with the other's missing parent and they're twin sisters.
  • Book-Ends: As part of Alan Silvestri's score, short, dramatic instrumentals of "Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah," the song from the original movie, accompany both the opening Walt Disney Pictures logo and the last few seconds of the end credits.
  • Bowdlerise: Certain scenes in the film have been known to get removed in television airings and even some countries' cinema releases. In particular, the scene where Hallie gives Annie an amateur ear-piercing with improvised tools (risky behavior that children might imitate) and the scene where Hallie demonstrates her knowledge of wine (young child drinking alcohol) are often judged inappropriate for a children's film. Elizabeth's line "like I was the bloody ghost of Christmas past" is sometimes cut as well ('bloody' being considered a mild swear word). The film ran about an hour shorter on Disney Channel than it does anywhere else.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When Chessy welcomes Annie!Hallie home, Chessy asks her if she'd like to eat lunch after upacking, before unpacking, or — to Annie's surprise — while unpacking.
  • Brief Accent Imitation:
    • Hallie imitates Annie's English accent for "in your honor, a royal flush" and a couple of times later to demonstrate that she can pass as her.
    • Annie does the reverse right before Hallie cuts her hair.
    Annie: You're nervous? (In American accent) An eleven-year-old is cutting my hair!
    Hallie: Hey, you sound just like me.
    Annie: Well, I'm supposed to, aren't I?
    • Nick briefly imitates Cary Grant when he hears that Martin and Chessy went on a picnic together while he and the girls were on a camping trip.
  • Britain is Only London: Justified since Elizabeth is a successful fashion designer and would naturally be based in London.
  • British Stuffiness: One of the twins is American and the other is British. Guess which is the proper one and which is the spunky one. On the other hand, Annie is an outdoorsy girl too who has no problem camping — in stark contrast to Meredith. That's not to mention the other British characters aren't portrayed as stuffy at all.
  • Bucket Booby-Trap: As part of the prank war at camp, Hallie and her conspirators fill a large bucket with chocolate syrup and rig it to spill all over whoever opens the front door to Annie's cabin.
  • Camp Straight: Martin, Elizabeth's butler, gives fashion advice, dons an all-leather biker ensemble, wears a Speedo to the pool, and gets together with Chessie mid-film.
  • Casting Gag: Vicki, Meredith's mother, is played by Joanna Barnes, who played Meredith's counterpart in the 1961 film.
  • Celeb Crush: Hallie laments that a gust of wind and splash of rainwater damage her photo of "the beautiful Leonardo DiCaprio."
  • Chekhov's Skill: During the poker game, Hallie mimics Annie's voice. This also acts as Foreshadowing that she's got a knack for imitating voices.
  • Child Hater: Meredith is quick to Mood Whiplash off her nice facade as soon as Annie (as Hallie) insinuates she wants to marry Nick for his money. Meredith goes so far as to say "I'll make your life miserable". Later, Meredith plots behind Nick's back to ship Hallie off to a boarding school. Later still, when she's driven to the end of her rope and snaps, she rants about her revised plan to boot both twins off to that boarding school before shouting her ultimatum to Nick to choose between her and the girls.
  • City Mouse: Annie is the City Mouse coming from downtown London. Played with, though, in that Annie adjusts very well to camping in the forest. Meredith is much more of a City Mouse; she comes directly from San Francisco, and she's really out of her element on the family camping trip.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It's what leads to the girls discovering they're identical twin sisters. As Annie points out to Hallie, she only has a mother and Hallie only has a father, she's never seen her father and Hallie has never seen her mother, she has one old picture of her mother that ripped down the middle and Hallie has the other half. They're both identical to each other despite being complete strangers (at first). They're both allergic to strawberries and enjoy eating Oreos with peanut butter. They're both going to celebrate their 12th birthday on October 11th.
    • Also, the fact that the twins being from two separate countries ending up at the same summer camp in the U.S.
  • Cool Old Guy: Grandfather. To the characters who need it the most, he's supportive and easy to talk to. He ensures others get the support and space they need, and it's partly because of this that things turn out all right in the end, particularly because Grandfather takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of things.
  • Coordinated Clothes: The twins wear matching outfits several times, sometimes to confuse the others about which twin is which. When the girls refuse to be separated and tell their parents which of them is which, they wear matching outfits in different colors, reflecting a combination of both their tastes.
  • Costume-Test Montage: The wedding dress shoot that Hallie (as Annie) gets to watch.
  • Country Mouse: Hallie is a Country Mouse, coming from a vast vineyard in Northern California.
  • Crazy Consumption: Both Annie and Hallie are the only ones who enjoy eating Oreo cookies with peanut butter; other people would find it disgusting.
  • Delayed Reaction: Hallie and her bunkmates have this reaction when Marva Sr. and Marva Jr. walk over to inspect Annie's cabin, which is messy because of a prank they pulled.
    Marva Sr. and Marva Jr.: Morning, girls.
    Hallie and bunkmates: (together) Morning, Marvas. (look back inside the bunk, Double Take)
    Hallie and bunkmates: (together) Marvas!?
  • Disappeared Dad: Annie has been growing up without a father.
  • Disneyfication: The story in the original book was far more serious — the father was distant, the mother was a wreck, and one twin falls ill.
  • Disposable Fiancée: Unusually for the female version of this trope, Meredith is the kind who can be discarded without regret after being revealed to have been Evil All Along.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Hallie manages to very much overreact and initiate all the fights.
  • The Ditz: Both Marvas are quite bubble brained.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: The twins actively invoke this. A line of dialogue notes that neither parent has ever come close to remarrying.
  • Don't Split Us Up: The twins' plan is to get their parents back together so they can be together as well.
  • Double Vision: Used in places to have the twins appear simultaneously and interact.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Meredith screams in fear and disgust at the sight of a small lizard, so the twins plot to sneak it onto her water bottle and again into her hair.
  • Escalating War: The twins start off hostile to each other, and a prank war ensues. This results in them getting put in the Isolation Cabin and being forced to spend time together.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Meredith is established as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing when Annie overhears her lying to a pastor, preventing Nick from taking part in a charity event.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog:
    • Hallie's dog barks at Meredith in the hotel.
    • Annie isn't evil, but Hallie's dog still figures out that she's an impostor much earlier than Nick and Cheesy do.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: During the fencing match at camp, one of the sisters leans against a tree and yawns while she parries strikes against her.
  • Fake Static: Hallie is unwilling to quickly bring Elizabeth to America so the twins can be switched back, so she finds a candy wrapper in a coat pocket and loudly rustles the wrapper up against the phone to disrupt her call with Annie and use it as a cover for hanging up on her.
  • Feet-First Introduction: When Annie arrives at camp, the camera pans up from Annie's feet to her face, to delay the revelation that she looks exactly like Hallie.
  • Fiery Redhead: Both Annie and Hallie have red hair, and channel their tempers into nasty pranks: their prank war against each other at camp includes funiture on the roof, booby traps galore, and Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen; their team pranks against Meredith include sneaking rocks in her backpack, a lizard on her water bottle and again in her hair, and pushing her on her air mattress.
  • First Father Wins: Gender Flipped. Liz gets back the guy, while the Gold Digger runs off in defeat.
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: Annie rants in French when she discovers Nick and Meredith are engaged. As she's pretending to be Hallie at this point, she has to claim she learned it at camp.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Elizabeth and Nick met while on an ocean cruise and married while they were still on it. Judging by the end of the film, they don't spend too much time waiting the second time around, either.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Both the twins are quite eloquent for eleven-year-olds, which is especially apparent the one time adult subject matter gets this treatment. Annie, pretending to be Hallie, reveals that she knows more about marriage and sex than just The Talk when she pokes at Meredith's motivations for marrying Nick.
    Annie as Hallie: I don't mean to be jerky when you're trying to be all mushy and everything, but I know what mystery my dad sees in you.
    Meredith: You do?
    Annie as Hallie: You're young and beautiful and sexy and, hey, the guy's only human. But if you ask me, marriage is supposed to be based on something more than just sex, right?
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: After Elizabeth finds out Nick didn't know she was coming to the hotel, she storms down the corridor and yells out "Hallie Parker!" — and both twins answer.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "11 years and 9 months later" cutaway reading seems merely comedic, but it also implies that the twins were conceived on Nick and Elizabeth's wedding night in a way that would fly over the heads of child viewers.
  • Gilligan Cut: After Elizabeth learns she has to get involved in switching Hallie and Annie back.
    Elizabeth: (to Hallie) You're not to worry, okay?
    (cut)
    Elizabeth: (to Martin) I'm sorry! I can't handle this!
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: The blurb describes Annie as a "fair rose from London" and she is the more proper of the twins. She's still an avid fencer and is happy to go hiking in the mountains on a camping trip.
  • Gold Digger: Nick's young, opportunistic fiancée Meredith, who is only interested in Nick's money.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: When Annie loses the poker game, she has to strip off and jump into the lake. Naturally, Hallie and her cabinmates steal her clothes afterwards.
  • "Good Luck" Gesture: They cross fingers (for luck) on both hands, with arms crossed (symbolizing the girls' Twin Switch).
  • Good-Times Montage: Hallie partakes in this when exploring London with either Martin or Elizabeth.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: By the time it looks like the plan has failed and the family parts, it's pouring down rain, both in California when Elizabeth and Annie leave and in London when they arrive. The rain lets up when they arrive home in London, where Nick and Hallie are waiting for them, having beat them by taking the Concorde.
    • The twins' isolation during summer camp is worsened by the storm going on outside, which leaks into the leaky cabin they've been confined in. After the reveal, one of the first things they notice is that the rain has stopped.
  • Grounded Forever: "We've been grounded till the end of the century." Which would have been much more threatening if the movie wasn't released in the summer of 1998, but then again, "grounded till the end of the century" was most likely an exaggeration. It was probably written with a double meaning for humor on both counts.
  • Guess Who I'm Marrying?: The twins discover their father about to marry a new woman who's nasty.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Elizabeth has short hair in the present but long hair in the wedding photo from eleven years ago.
  • Hard-Work Montage: During one of these twins give each other information and teach each other mannerisms they'll each need to remember when visiting the other parent.
  • Hate at First Sight: Hallie and Annie develop a rivalry from the moment they first see each other and see they look exactly alike. Said rivalry goes away when they're isolated, and even before they find out they're twins, they quickly become friends.
  • Heavy Sleeper:
    • Annie and her bunkmates. The girls from Hallie's cabin booby trap Annie's cabin while Annie and her cabinmates are asleep. This includes pouring honey on one girl and shaving cream on another, stringing the entire cabin, placing water balloons to fall on the girls, and placing feathers on the top of the ceiling fan so that they would float down when the fan was turned on. The fan was also booby trapped to pull on a certain string. That had to take hours and involve ladders moving around the cabin.
    • Justified with Meredith on the camping trip. She stated she was going to take a large, presumably powerful sleeping pill.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: Elizabeth panicked during her flight to California and drank everything in sight, so this was necessary.
  • Hired Help as Family: Martin the family butler and Chessy the family nanny/maid are treated like family by their respective employers. It's really telling when Elizabeth (the twins' mother) kisses Chessy on the cheek after not seeing her for many years, while Meredith (Nick's young, opportunistic, gold-digging fiancee) treats Chessy as a servant who should be summoned with a bell.
  • His and Hers: Discussed trope. Once they discover each other, neither twin is happy that in the original divorce, the twins were treated as "his and hers", as if they were a set of matched towels.
    Hallie: His and Hers kids. No offense, mom, but this arrangement totally sucks.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: In the final act, Martin (Elizabeth's butler) and Chessy (Nick's nanny/maid) disappear for a picnic together. Then, during the parents' wedding, Martin proposes to Chessy, as shown via snapshots during the end credits.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Nick toward his gold digger fiancée. She is very rude - not only to the girls, but also to his housekeeper.
  • How's Your British Accent?: When the British-raised Annie is faking Hallie's American accent, it's Lindsay Lohan dropping back into her natural accent.
  • Humiliating Wager: The loser of Annie and Hallie's poker game is required to jump naked into the lake at night. Annie emerges only to find that Hallie and her friends have taken her clothes with them.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: At the start, the twins are easily distinguishable by their individual senses of style, including their respective hairdos, and clothing, as well as their accents. Throughout the course of their time at camp, they learn about each other's mannerisms, and toward the end of the session, they alter their appearances so that each can pose as the other. The only way to tell them apart in the third act is by the accents, and they're able to fake those convincingly enough that not even the girls' father can be completely sure he knows which is which. Notably, in scenes where the audience is supposed to know which is which (the Stafford Hotel, dinner on the ocean liner etc) one twin usually wears her hair back.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: Nick Parker has trouble seeing that Meredith is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing because he's Distracted by the Sexy. Discussed when Annie tells Meredith that the wool isn't pulled over her eyes.
    Annie as Hallie: You're young and beautiful and sexy and, hey, the guy's only human.
  • Important Haircut: Hallie cuts Annie's longer hair to match her own, and its one of the biggest steps in the transformation.
  • Inelegant Blubbering:
    • Martin when Hallie reveals herself to Elizabeth.
    • Chessy when Annie reveals herself. She starts blubbering at a bewildered Nick.
  • Infodump: For everyone who is involved in the main plot.
  • Intimate Open Shirt: Meredith suggests Nick wear his shirt with three buttons undone.
    Meredith: I like it when I can see a little chest hair. (cue Sexophone)
  • Internal Reveal: The audience knows Annie and Hallie are pretending to be one another, but Elizabeth James, Chessy, and Nick Parker don't know this until the twins reveal their true selves to them halfway through the film.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Elizabeth may not drink much, but she's a total lightweight.
    Annie: She's never had more than one glass of wine in her entire life, and she chooses today to show up totally zonked!
  • Irony: Meredith Squees when meeting Elizabeth - as she's a fan of her gowns and wants her to design her wedding dress. She has no idea she's her fiance's ex-wife and she's there as part of the plan to reunite with him.
  • It's a Small World After All: Twin sisters, separated and living on different continents, end up at the same camp one summer. The long odds of all this happening get lampshaded more than once.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: The bartender's Hideous Hangover Cure tastes and looks like tar.
  • Keep It Foreign: In the French dub, Annie's French-language tirade is changed to Spanish.
  • Kids Play Matchmaker: The sisters initially just want to get to know their respective other parent. Then they decide to try getting them back together.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: Chessy, when she discovers the switch, wants to coddle Annie and tries to cook everything in the kitchen for her.
  • Now You Tell Me: A lot of characters find things out the hard way.
  • Lady Drunk: Elizabeth turns up to the Stafford Hotel - to quote Annie - "totally zonked". It's implied that she was so nervous on the plane over that she started drinking everything in sight.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The last line of dialogue in the film is Hallie exclaiming, "We actually did it!"
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Elizabeth is the softer and nurturing Light Feminine, while Meredith is the harsher and brasher Dark Feminine. Notably, Elizabeth only wears dark colours once in the film, when she's at dinner with Nick. The same is true of Meredith wearing white, which she does when she first meets Annie.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Invoked in terms of Nick and Elizabeth's relationships with Chessy and Martin respectively; while they are employees on paper, Nick and Hallie clearly see Chessy as a close friend to the point that Chessy gets very emotional when she learns that Hallie is Annie, and when Elizabeth is having a stressed rant about seeing Nick again, she mentions that Martin is more than a butler and more like a dear brother who just happens to work for them.
  • Like Is, Like, a Comma:
    • When trying to cover up that Cuppy is her "friend's" toy, Hallie-as-Annie slips back into California mode - saying "like" a lot.
    • Invoked by Annie when others note that 'Hallie' is using proper English more often than she normally does.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughters: Elizabeth tricks Meredith into agreeing that Elizabeth shouldn't join the rest of the family on the camping trip, enabling the twins to focus their energy on wearing Meredith out and driving her off. It's not lost on Nick, either.
  • Little Black Dress:
    • Martin, Elizabeth's butler and friend, suggests she take one on the trip to see Nick and switch the girls back. She's actually wearing it when they all go out to dinner.
    • Meredith is also wearing one when Nick meets her parents at the hotel, though she covers it with a coat later in the day.
  • Logo Joke: The Walt Disney Pictures logo is accompanied by an orchestral version of an excerpt from "Let's Get Together" from the original movie.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Tomboy Hallie has shorter hair than the girly girl Annie.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Hallie and Annie.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: Done subtly. Elizabeth - the wholesome mother - is given a more earthy look, with soft makeup and modest clothes. Meredith — the vampy, evil girlfriend - is done up in sexier clothes, with more fashionable hair and makeup. Further underlining things is the colours they wear in the first scene they appear in together — Elizabeth is dressed in white and Meredith in black.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: When Annie and Hallie play poker, Annie gets straight in diamonds while Hallie gets a royal flush.
  • Man in a Bikini: Elizabeth and the girls are appalled to see Martin dressed in his tiny, tight swim trunks. Chessy, on the other hand...
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Tomboyish nanny Chessie and sensitive butler Martin.
  • Meal Ticket: Nick for Meredith. She does seem to be reasonably well-off herself (possibly upper middle class, judging by her wardrobe) but is enticed by the millions Nick is worth.
  • Missing Mom: Hallie has been growing up without a mother.
  • Mood Whiplash: Meredith's attempts to be nice go out the window as soon as Annie insinuates she wants to marry Nick for his money. She actually snaps "Okay, puss!" — establishing herself as a villain.
  • Musical Nod: A few lines from "Let's Get Together" song (made famous in the Hayley Mills version) are hummed/spoken by Hallie as she walks to the elevators in the hotel.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Meredith's mother is not only named Vicki, like Meredith's equivalent in the original movie, but played by the same actress, Joanna Barnes. Meredith also wears a similar charm bracelet to Vicki, which was a deliberate Shout-Out by Elaine Hendrix.
    • Mildred, Annie's pretend friend who is a cover for Hallie, is a possible reference to Hayley Mills.
    • Meredith talks on the phone to a Reverend Moseby, a character from the original film.
    • The camp counselors have the last name Kulp, as a tribute to Nancy Kulp, who played the younger counselor in the 1961 version.
    • When caught on the phone, Annie claims she is speaking with "Mildred Plotka". This is a double-barrelled reference, to both the 1961 movie and to Carole Lombard's character in the 1934 film Twentieth Century.
    • The hotel where everyone meets up, The Stafford, is named for a boy Susan spoke to during the camp dance in the original.
  • Naked First Impression: Downplayed when Chessie first sees Martin, who is at the time holding a towel and wearing nothing but a tight Speedo swimsuit.
  • Necessary Fail: If the twins hadn't fought so much, they would never have been isolated together and it would have been more difficult for them to realize their identical twins.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • Chessy and Martin are like family to their respective employers, which shows that they are good people.
    • Meredith treats Chessy like a dog who should be summoned with a bell, which is a sign of her poor character.
    • Chessy is even treated nicely by Elizabeth, despite being intoxicated at the time of their meeting again after years apart.
      Chessy: [upon seeing Elizabeth after so many years] Hi, you probably don't remember me. I...
      Elizabeth: Chessy! [kisses Chessy on the cheek]
      Chessy: I knew I always liked her!
  • Nom de Mom: Annie James and Hallie Parker have different surnames because Annie was raised with their mom's surname and Hallie with their dad's.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Annie's reaction when she loses at poker to Hallie and has to jump into the lake naked.
    • Annie's reaction when she sees the giant water balloon about to fall on her.
    • Hallie and her bunkmates reaction when they see the two Marva's about to enter Annie's bunk, which is laden with the booby traps they set
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Hallie, an energetic eleven-year-old, is shown running several minutes' distance through the streets of London in a series of Jump Cuts to reach a phone booth away from the house to make her phone call. Her elderly grandfather shows up outside the phone booth less than a minute later, and he's not even out of breath.
  • Off to Boarding School: Meredith casually mentions to a coworker that she plans to send Hallie to boarding school in Switzerland. Near the end, when victimized by the final prank, she angrily tells Nick that once they're married, the children would go straight to boarding school.
  • Old Man Marrying a Child: Used as an indirect accusation delivered with Sugary Malice. When Nick tells his daughter that Meredith is about to become part of the family, she surely understands right away that he's talking about marriage. However, she pretends to innocently misunderstand him and get all ecstatic about how she's always wanted an older sister. Annie (pretending to be Hallie) immediately asks Meredith her age and points out that she's only fifteen years older.
  • Only in It for the Money: Meredith in her engagement to Nick. When Annie "casually" drops this accusation during what Meredith initially passes off as an innocent heart-to-heart, she immediately drops all pretenses and warns Annie not to do anything to interfere with their upcoming marriage, kicking off the girls' desperate plans to reunite their parents before this can happen. Oh, and Meredith's parents are all in on the scheme too.
  • One-Note Cook: Pasta is the only thing Nick knows how to make.
  • One True Pairing: Established in-universe, between Elizabeth James and Nick Parker — the daughters' reason for the trap.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Happens to both Hallie and Annie, more often to whoever has a British accent at the moment. Often it's the In-Character version of the trope. Lindsay Lohan had to play four accents — American, British, American pretending to be British, and British pretending to be American. The latter two had accents slipping. Lohan does a remarkable job in the scene at the hotel where she's basically playing four characters at once — Hallie, Annie, Hallie pretending to be Annie and Annie pretending to be Hallie. She switches up the accents just enough to do exactly what Hallie and Annie were after (confuse the heck out of Mom and Dad). Annie's accent slipping into American would probably be justified by spending eight weeks at an American camp with mostly American girls.
  • Papa Wolf: Nick is very much this to Hallie, and to Annie. We see it in full force when he finally sees Meredith for what she really is, after she makes an ultimatum to him that it's "either her or them" after the girls sabotage their camping trip. Not missing a beat, he simply tells her "Them".
  • Parent Service: Meredith's outfits are usually tight, flattering and showing plenty of leg.
  • Parental Substitute: Chessy acted like a second mother to Hallie and Martin was a male figure to Annie. It makes sense, seeing as how they were certain that the girls would never meet their other parent (and kept each girl from knowing about her other parent).
  • Parents as People: Nick and Elizabeth are shown as complicated people who admit they didn't make the best decision in splitting the girls up during their divorce.
  • Parents Know Their Children: Sort of. Nick looks each twin in the eye and declares which one is Hallie; however, it's not made clear if he's right, since the twins keep playing up the charade and make him question his own judgement.
  • Parent with New Paramour: The father has just started dating a new girlfriend who happens to be a Gold Digger.
  • Photo Montage: The end credits show Nick and Elizabeth's second wedding, where Martin proposes to Chessy.
  • Picky Eater: Meredith refuses to eat the freshly caught trout that Nick and the girls enjoy on the camping trip.
  • Plot Allergy: We know Annie and Hallie have more in common than their appearances when they separately reveal to Marva Sr. that they're allergic to strawberries.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Annie is calm, reserved, and rather uptight; Hallie is relaxed, loud, outgoing, and a Big Eater.
  • Popcultural Osmosis Failure: Nick tells the twins to go easy on Meredith since she isn't accustomed to camping and hiking; he tells them she's not Annie Oakley. Annie responds with "Who's Annie Oakley?"
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: When Hallie pierces Annie's ears, naturally Annie screams in pain. The scream drives Hallie into screaming too.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The camp employees are kind and enthusiastic about their work - maybe too much so, because they only punish the twins after their feud has reached messy levels.
  • The Remake: Of the 1961 film.
  • Remake Cameo: Joanna Barnes played Vicki Robinson (the fiancée) in the 1961 version and Vicki Blake (the fiancée's mother) in the 1998 version.
  • The Reveal: In-universe, several times: first Hallie and Annie to each other (twice), then Annie to Chessy, then Hallie to her grandfather, then Hallie to her mother. And then Elizabeth dealing with the additional reveal of Nick's engagement to Meredith.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Elizabeth is getting emotional about the thought of meeting Nick for the first time after so many years, she spouts off several of these to Martin—as well as insisting he not to answer any of them.
  • Rich Bitch: Meredith. It may be more accurate to call her an aspiring Rich Bitch, as her Gold Digger plot falls through and so she never actually qualifies for the rich part. She does appear to be upper middle class, judging from her outfits and those of her parents - but she aspires to be a millionaire.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Nick falls in love with another woman and fails to notice that the target of his affections is a Gold Digger who doesn't care about him or his daughters.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • How did Annie get three sets of beds and dressers out of a cabin and onto the roof without any counselors noticing?
  • Rule of Pool: A pool serves as an aid to dramatic emphasis. The father falls into a nearby pool when he sees his ex-wife from afar.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Elizabeth is pleased that Nick still remembers the wine from their first wedding, and tries to mask her happy/nostalgic crying as dust from the wine bottles getting into her eyes.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Marva Sr., though with a bit of lampshade hanging. She believes she's been talking to the same girl when she first meets both Annie and Hallie.
    "First day of camp, you'll have to excuse the old girl."
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Hallie arriving in London is, of course, an opportunity for plenty of shots of the various landmarks.
    • To a lesser degree, Annie arriving in California.
  • Scream Discretion Shot:
    • When Hallie pierces Annie's ears and Annie screams in pain while Hallie screams at Annie's screaming, the camera cuts from inside the cabin to outside the cabin witty their screams echoing.
    • When Meredith wakes up and discovers that the girls have dragged her mattress into the lake, she screams. The camera cuts from her to a distant shot of all the pretty scenery that her scream is currently echoing through.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!:
    • Annie-as-Hallie does this taking off riding her horse when her father Nick is just about to tell her his engagement plans to Meredith. She then runs the rest of the way home in foot.
    • Meredith does this after Nick chooses his kids over her when she gives him an ultimatum.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: Meredith throws an ultimatum at Nick, demanding that he chooses between his daughters and herself. Nick chooses the twins in a heartbeat.
  • Secret Handshake: Annie and Martin have a quirkily complex secret handshake which Hallie has to learn.
  • Separated at Birth: The twins were separated at some point when they were both babies.
  • Separated by a Common Language:
    • Hallie-as-Annie slips up a couple of times when it comes to British and American slang - she refers to a "closet" when Annie would be more likely to say "wardrobe" or "cloakroom".
    • Annie likewise gets people suspicious when pretending to be Hallie, and using expressions like "lovely girl", "horrid habit" and "you gave me a fright".
  • Servile Snarker: Nick's housekeeper, Chessy, and Elizabeth's butler, Martin. They also become attracted to each other at first sight and end up being the Beta Couple.
    • Martin is more soft-spoken and subtle about his snark, while Chessy makes it especially clear she's got her own opinions about what unfolds. Besides, she had to be tough to be a maid to a single, manly guy and a nanny to his tomboy daughter.
  • Setting Update: Both films move the setting to contemporary America from 1940s Germany in the book, and 1960s (then-contemporary) America in the earlier film.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Nick has a reaction like this when Elizabeth gets dressed up for the dinner on the ship, because in eleven years, he's only seen her coming down from a hangover. Of course, the audience has seen her looking flawless before.
  • She's Got Legs: Discussed about both Elizabeth and Meredith:
    • Martin suggests a Little Black Dress for Elizabeth in light of her having good legs.
    • A very drunk ("totally zonked!") Elizabeth attempts to get out of the cab by trying to put her foot in Martin's hand, showing some serious leg.
      Martin: Other end, Madam.
    • After seeing Nick in the elevator, his arms wrapped around a young lady, Elizabeth refers to her as "leggy".
  • Shipper on Deck: Chessy and Martin are on board with the twins' plan and help them try to get their parents back together.
  • Shout-Out:
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Nick to Elizabeth as they get back together at the end.
  • Sibling Team: Once the girls discover they're sisters, they decide to work together to get their parents to remarry.
  • Skinny Dipping: Hallie and Annie play a hand of Five Card Poker at summer camp, with the loser to skinny dip in the lake. Hallie's Royal Flush beats Annie's Straight Flush. Hallie and some of the other girls steal Annie's clothes.
  • Solomon Divorce: The parents of a pair of infant twin girls each take one with them after they divorce, and the children only find out about it after meeting each other by chance when they're adolescents.
  • Sommelier Speak: Hallie almost blows her cover by asking to taste Elizabeth's wine at dinner and giving a detailed review of the taste based on the knowledge she picked up growing up on Nick's vineyard.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Elizabeth initially appears to be a Proper Lady, but completely unravels when she has to reunite with Nick; she drinks everything in sight on the plane, and actually burps out loud when given a hangover cure.
  • Sore Loser: When Annie defeats Hallie in fencing and accidentally pushes her in some water, Hallie pulls Annie into the water when Annie tries to help her up.
  • Spot the Imposter: Chessy is the first to start figuring things out, since "Hallie" is suddenly cleaning up after herself, her appetite is different, her dog doesn't seem to recognize her and she says things like "gave me a fright." Realizing she's onto her, Annie confesses her true identity.
  • Stealth Pun: When Hallie, impersonating Annie, meets Martin at the airport, the song that plays is Soulful Strut, which is an instrumental version of "Am I The Same Girl?".
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    • One of the first signs that the girls' similarities run deeper than usual is the fact that both of them like to eat Oreos topped with peanut butter, which everybody else seems to find disgusting.
    • More so because both Oreos and peanut butter are far less commonly sold in Britain than they are in America; the English-raised Annie liking that particular combination of food would be especially unusual.
  • Sword Fight: Hallie and Annie's first meeting is through an absurdly over-the-top "fencing match" at camp. The girls have fencing masks on as a way to save on special effects, to cover the faces of the stunt people, and for the big reveal that they both look alike when they take the masks off and face each other.
  • Symbolically Broken Object: The girls each have half of a torn photo of their parents.
  • Take Five: Played with, in that it's not the person leaving the area who's seeking privacy. After Martin announces that he found Cuppy in Hallie!Annie's suitcase, she says she'll mail it to Annie!Hallie and quickly dismisses him from the room, basically politely kicking him out of there before he comes any closer to blowing her cover.
  • The Talk: Meredith tries to give it to Annie!Hallie, but she's more knowledgeable about it than she gives her credit for.
  • Tar and Feathers: The last event in the Escalating War between the twins involves sticky substances (honey, shaving cream, and chocolate syrup) either drizzled directly onto the girls or rigged to spill on whoever opens the cabin door, and feathers on the ceiling fan to scatter and stick to the mess.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Played with. It's actually Hallie-posing-as-Annie who asks; she already knows all about her father, and she's really interested what her mother is willing to say about him. The twins actually split the job, deciding that one should find out how their parents met while the other learns why they broke up.
  • Tempting Fate: Annie waking up at the cabin disaster dodges several water balloons. "Gosh, she didn't get me!" and smiles with satisfaction. Then one last HUGE water balloon falls on her, soaking her.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The determined American, Hallie Parker, and the proper Brit, Annie James.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Hallie is sporty, outdoorsy and sassy, but also really likes her funky nail polish and accessories.
  • Too Much Alike: Hallie and Annie get into so many arguments- both before the reveal, and after- because they're very proud, competitive people.
  • True Blue Femininity: Annie, the more graceful and feminine of the twins, wears a blue dress for the dinner with the parents.
  • Twin Switch: The girls swap places to get to know their parents. Later the girls take this Up to Eleven, constantly switching roles and rendering themselves completely indistinguishable from each other just to confuse their parents so much that they can't separate them without the risk of ending up with the wrong twin again.
  • Two Halves Make a Plot: Annie and Hallie each have half of the same picture, and it's the only picture they have of their respective long-lost parents. This is what makes them realize they are twins.
  • T-Word Euphemism: Subverted.
    Hallie: Doesn't designing all of these wedding gowns ever make you think about the f-word?
    Elizabeth: The f-word?!
    Hallie: My father.
    Elizabeth: Oh, that f-word...
  • The Vamp: Meredith.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Meredith has one after she's pranked by the twins and dumped by Nick in quick succession.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Cheesy asked herself why Nick is dating Meredith. It's not like Nick is ugly, but he's an average Joe and isn't very witty or a "suave, debonair Bachelor of-the-Month type."
  • Wham Line:
    • When Annie reveals herself to Chessy, who thinks she's Hallie.
    Annie: Almost as if I were ... Annie?
    Chessy: (stops, tears up) You know about Annie?
    Annie: (speaking slowly, drops American accent) I am Annie.
    Chessy: (smiles; chokes up)
    • When Hallie tells her mother the truth.
    Elizabeth: (giggling) Annie? Annie!
    Hallie: (in her normal voice) That's where I have to go. I have to go see Annie!
    Elizabeth: (playing along) I see, and where might Annie be?
    Hallie: In Napa, with her father, Nick Parker.
    Elizabeth: (realizes that "Annie" was serious; looks at Grandfather, who nods, then looks back at Hallie) You're not Annie?
    Hallie: That would be correct.
    Elizabeth: (becomes emotional) You're Hallie?
  • Wicked Stepmother: Thankfully averted with Meredith, who makes it clear that she has no intention of being a maternal figure to Annie or Hallie. She gets annoyed with Annie/"Hallie" for figuring out that she wants to marry Nick for his money and plans to ship her away after they get married. She finally snaps during the camping trip after the girls' numerous pranks and demands that Nick choose between her and his daughters.
  • Wine Is Classy: Subverted in that Nick is more of a Good Ol' Boy with some decidedly slovenly habits.
  • Wise Beyond Her Years: Annie is definitely more savvy than her eleven years would lead one to believe. She guesses right away that Meredith is a Gold Digger. To be fair, though, Chessy suggests it while she and Annie are unpacking, before Annie actually meets Meredith.
  • Wolf Whistle: After losing a bet to Hallie, Annie has to go skinny-dipping while the other girls watch and heckle. One of the spectators wolf-whistles at her.
  • Women Are Wiser: Chessy figures out very quickly that something is different with "Hallie". Her hepatitis significantly different from that of the Hallie she knows, Sammy barks threateningly at her, and her language is more proper. She almost tells "Hallie" about Annie, leading to Annie confiding in Chessy that she is Annie. That being said, Grandfather notices something similar about "Annie".
  • You Are Grounded: After the girls scare Meredith off.
    Nick: Up to your room. Now.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Meredith summons Chessy with a bell, treating her like she's not a friend at all and merely a servant; she orders her to get a martini for herself and a double martini for Nick. Chessy shoots Nick a "Seriously?" look, to which he tells Chessy to obey her, because the stress he's already feeling note  is giving him a migraine.
  • You Talkin' to Me?: Parodied. When Hallie is addressed by Meredith (who she had never seen before), she responds "You talkin' to me?" and gets an answer: "What are you, Robert De Niro? Yes, I'm talking to you."
  • Youthful Freckles: Annie and Hallie have these, Lindsay Lohan's own.
  • Zany Scheme: The entire Twin Switch scheme is intended to lure the twins' parents into getting back together in both the physical and marital sense.

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