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(2004), PG
with Lohan comparative

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
MAy 22, 2004
65 out of 100

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2004), PG, with Lohan comparative -- warm and moving ... creating the "Gimme a break!" syndrome.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): The Meyers/Shyer Company, Walt Disney Pictures
Distribution (US): Buena Vista International, Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): Nancy Meyers
Producer(s): Bruce A. Block, Julie B. Crane, Charles Shyer
Book: Erich Kästner
Screenplay: David Swift, Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer
Cinematography/Camera: Dean Cundey
Music: Alan Silvestri, Joe Garland, Andy Razaf
Film Editing: Stephen A. Rotter
Casting: Ilene Starger
Production Design: Dean Tavoularis
Art Direction: Alex Tavoularis
Viewed on Disney Home Video VHS

The Parent Trap (1998). A warm and moving relatively gentle and rich tale of two daughters manipulating their parents into getting back together.

The story opens with Nicholas, 24 years old and Elizabeth, 23 years old getting married in 1985 aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner. Neither was keen on flying. Several minutes are spent on the newlyweds in their bliss to build an image of a strong bond between Nicholas and Elizabeth.

The story jumps 11 years and nine months ahead with Hallie Parker and Annie James (both Lindsay Lohan) thrown together for an eight-week period at Camp Walden. Hallie comes from 7 Pembrook Lane, London where her mother was a successful wedding gown designer sought after by princesses and other royalty. Annie comes from Napa, California where her father owned a successful vineyard in Napa Valley.

Almost immediately Hallie and Annie notice that they are identical in appearance. Rivalry and mischief between the two girls send them to the Isolation Cabin where they were forced to spend quality time together to learn to get along. Eventually, their identical appearance becomes more than the girls could stand. They had to know why they looked like identical twins. They even shared the same birthday, October 11.

Each girl produced half of an old picture. Each half was of one person, obviously torn away from a picture with at least two people in it. The man in Hallie's half of the picture was her father, Nicholas Parker (Dennis Quaid) whom she had not seen since she was a baby. The woman in Annie's half of the picture was her mother, Elizabeth James (Natasha Richardson) whom Annie had not seen since she was a baby. Lo and behold! The two halves of the picture fit together perfectly, proving the man and woman in the torn picture were the parents of both girls! They were sisters! Identical twin sisters.

Putting heads together, the girls devised a way for Hallie to spend some time with her father and Annie with her mother. "I'll teach you to be me and you teach me to be you." This started the whole shebang. But a wrench is in the works. Vicious San Francisco publicist, Meredith Blake (Elaine Hendrix) has her hooks in Nicholas and plans to marry him in two weeks.

The Parent Trap of 1998, a remake of the 1961 original with Brian Keith and Halley Mills, is an outstanding film with a top quality adolescent performer, 11 year old Lindsay Lohan, at least as talented as Halley Mills, quite possibly more talented. Lohan is supported by the high wattage performances of veteran actor, Dennis Quaid and others whose seem as sincere in their performances. I've seen The Parent Trap of 1961 but it does not match the emotional reach and grasp of this 1998 version.

Supporting roles include Parker's nanny, Chessy (Lisa Ann Walter) whose contribution was so strong that the movie would not have been the same without her. Likewise as strong in contribution was the role of Martin (Simon Kunz), Elizabeth's butler though he is responsible for loss of one of the starting 100 points in Sexual Immorality by wearing before young Lohan a speedo swimsuit. Also among the supporting cast were Meredith's parents, Vicki (Joanna Barnes) and Les (J. Patrick McCormack), and Marva Kulp mother (Polly Holliday) and Marva Kulp daughter (Maggie Wheeler), the camp director pair. Michael Lohan played the part of a lost boy at the girl's Camp Walden. Michael brought a few seconds of urgency as a boy thrown into a girl's camp.

However moving and "tear-jerking" this 1998 version is, I don't think I have seen a better example of the use of loading a film with many lesser examples of questionable behavior to avoid the more severe rating it should have received. The Parent Trap (1998) is a perfect example of the CAP Rule of 1000 to a PG movie.

The CAP Rule of 1000 addresses a relatively new cinematographic technique of loading a movie with tons of "lesser" issues of assaults on wholesome morality to get the same effect or "feel" of a more severe movie which uses fewer but more extreme and bold issues of immorality. The CAP Rule of 1000 states that a movie which presents, for example, 100 examples of bad behaviors/images of lesser severity, each worth only 10 "bads" is just as negatively influential as a movie of the same length that presents only 10 examples of bad behaviors/images but of more extreme severity each worth 100 "bads." Both movies are worth 1000 "bads." Some modern PG and most PG-13 movies are examples of the CAP Rule of 1000. The Parent Trap (1998) is another example of a PG that should have been rated PG-13 due to the tons of lesser "bad's" used. And what is really bad about that is that most of us have become accustomed to hearing and seeing such "minor" assaults on morality that they have become invisible to us, creating the "Gimme a break!" syndrome toward our pointing them out. We have become so drugged by the narcotics of extremes that what once was morally unacceptable has become morally invisble.

And by discussion with our Director - Child Psychology Support, the CAP Rule of 1000 is not quite linear. Meaning that for two movies of the same length which each earn the same number of "bads", the movie that presents many examples of lesser "bads" is indeed more negatively influential than the movie with only a few but more severe "bads."

Examples of the "lesser" issues of assault on wholesome morality in The Parent Trap (1998) include: adolescents speaking God's name in vain 12 times [Deut. 5:11]; lying at least 13 times [Rev. 21:8]; an adult male patting the posterior of an adolescent female [Matt. 18:10]; drinking and drunkenness [Eph. 5:18]; viciousness of an adult toward an adolescent [Matt. 18:10]; gambling by adolescents turning into strip poker; hidden adolescent nudity. One issue of violence which may generate monkey-see, monkey-do mimicry was Annie performing field surgery on Hallie's ear lobes. Annie had pierced ears. Hallie did not. One cannot go to a camp with pierced ears and come home without pierced ears.

We have provided several examples of comparatives between an original film and its remake(s) or a movie and its sequel(s). Examples include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the first Scooby-Doo movie and its sequel and the three Spy Kids movies. The CAP analysis model is also capable of making comparatives of films with the same actor/ress. Lindsay Lohan is our first comparative of films with the same actor/ress. Lohan was born July 2, 1986. Lohan was probably 11 years old when she made this 1998 remake of the 1961 The Parent Trap which earned a score of 65. Lohan was probably 13 years old when she made Disney's 2000 release of Life-Size which earned a CAP score of 79. Lohan was probably 16 when she made the 2003 remake of the 1976 Freaky Friday which earned a CAP score of 65. Lohan starred in two 2004 release films: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen which earned a score of 58 and Mean Girls which earned a score of 41. Lohan was probably 16 when she made Confessions and 17 when she made Mean Girls. Where I am going with this is the age/score relationship: 11/65; 13/79; 16/65; 16/58; 17/41. Following is a graph of this relationship.

The Parent Trap was the last of these four films to be analyzed. The graph before analysis of The Parent Trap suggested a final score at least higher than the 79 of Life-Size. Not much higher, maybe 82, but higher nonetheless. It is indeed interesting that the content of an earlier Lohan film was worse than a later film of hers. While I was certainly surprised, the trend is indeed downward after Life-Size, sharply downward. Let us hope the trending is misleading of her next film.

Not that Lohan has much to say about the content of a film a writer builds, but she certainly has a lot she can say about her behavior and with whom she is associated as a function of her thespian activities. I am looking forward (?) to Lohan's next film, whatever that may be. Please understand that the intent of this Lohan project is not to demean Lindsay but to point out the degradation of content so typical of Hollywood and their exploitation of young girls/women.

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section reveals all that was noted.

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If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Matt. 18:10 See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk. A recent study has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    The Parent Trap (2004) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • adolescent performing ear piercing on another adolescent

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • a girl offering to beat up a girl for revenge
  • gambling by adolescents, turning into strip poker
  • michief and rivalry, repeatedly
  • lying, repeatedly
  • planning deceit
  • using deceit to manipulate parents
  • viciousness of an adudlt toward adolescents
  • conniving to decieve
  • divorce
  • adult tantrum

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts
  • hidden adolsecent nudity
  • inapporpirate touch twice, once by adult on adolescent and once by adult on adult
  • intimate agression
  • adult in speedo swimsuit before a child
  • suggestion of past sexual immoral behavior, twice

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze to celebrate
  • adolescent sipping wine
  • adolescent feigning inebriation
  • smoking
  • drinking, twivce
  • drunkenness
  • offer of booze to get drunk

    Offense to God (O)
  • 12 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive, most by an adolescent.

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted


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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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