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IT TAKES TWO

From the Nov. 17, 1995, Deseret News

IT TAKES TWO — Kirstie Alley, Steve Guttenberg, Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Philip Bosco, Jane Sibbett; rated PG (mild profanity, mild vulgarity, comic violence)

To be honest, a movie starring the Olsen Twins was not something I looked forward to. But on the way to the screening, I tried to be philosophical and said to my son Danny, who reluctantly came along, "Oh well, how bad can it be?"

Danny looked up at me and sardonically answered, "Have you ever seen `Full House'?"

Actually, I never have seen the Olsen Twins' television series "Full House," in which, as I understand it, they both traded off playing a single character.

But I must confess that "It Takes Two" wasn't nearly as awful as I expected it to be. To be sure, it will never be confused with such superior family fare as "A Little Princess" or "Searching for Bobby Fischer," but it's not a bad little time-waster for the kiddies.

A blend of "The Parent Trap," "Annie" and "The Prince and the Pauper," "It Takes Two" has Mary-Kate playing 9-year-old tomboy Amanda, an orphan who can't get adopted and whose case-worker Diane (Kirstie Alley) adores her.

Ashley plays Alyssa, prim-and-proper daughter of ultra-wealthy Roger (Steve Guttenberg), who surprises her when he announces that he is going to marry spoiled, child-hating social-climber Clarice (Jane Sibbett, who is so over-the-top obnoxious that her performance makes the kids more tolerable).

The plot kicks in when Roger takes Alyssa to their lakeside mansion and Diane takes the orphans to a summer camp across the lake. The two "identical strangers" are bound to meet, and when they do they decide to switch identities and try to bring Roger and Diane together.

Mary-Kate is pretty good as the street-smart, sports-minded Amanda, but Ashley is fairly unbearable as the artificially refined Alyssa. (Or is it the other way around.)

But the real saving grace here is the comic timing of Kirstie Alley (one forgets what a good comic actress she is, considering all the lousy movies she makes) and veteran character actor Philip Bosco, as Roger's longtime butler Vincenzo. Both bring some very nice touches to their slight characters — and manage to bolster the paper-thin script.

Still, this is a movie for kids. And very young fans of the Olsens are, quite rightly, targeted as the primary audience.

"It Takes Two" is rated PG for mild profanity and mild vulgarity, along with some comic violence.