by Adam Riske
I wanted to see It Takes Two pretty badly back when it was released in November 1995. It definitely wasn’t cool for me to share this feeling, as I was in 8th grade and I felt pretty confident that none of my friends would go with me to see it. It was better to play it safe and see Goldeneye, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, or even Toy Story. Those I could easily explain, unlike It Takes Two. This predicament caused me a fair amount of cinematic anxiety. See, here’s the thing, I was a huge fan of the show Full House for nearly a decade at that point and the thought that I wasn’t going to support Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen during their shot at theatrical film stardom just seemed disrespectful.
The other night I sat on the couch and finally pressed play on It Takes Two and guess what? It’s totally fine. Mary Kate Olsen plays Amanda, the street-smart orphan who lives in a home run (not baseball, like a home that’s run by someone) by social worker Diane (Alley). Ashley Olsen plays Alyssa, the well-mannered rich kid daughter of cell phone magnate Steve Guttenberg. Upset by the upcoming nuptials between her dad and a gold-digging socialite (played by Friends’ Jane Sibbett), Alyssa runs off to the nearby summer camp being visited by the orphans and gets mistaken for Amanda. Amanda is mistaken by Alyssa after a game of ding-dong-ditch lands Amanda on the front door of Guttenberg’s mansion. Eventually the two girls run into each other (literally if I remember correctly) and convince each other that they should try to get Alley and Guttenberg together whilst kicking Sibbett to the curb. The film co-stars Phillip Bosco as Guttenberg’s butler. He’s playing the Hector Elizondo role. There’s s’mores, there’s slingshots, there’s horses, there’s food fights, there’s jumps in the lake etc. The movie has everything a growing cinephile needs.
Let’s talk about the Olsen Twins for a second. Their acting trickery as Michelle on Full House never allowed me to really separate one from the other in terms of their acting. They knew the character of Michelle Tanner like Kenneth Branagh knows Hamlet. In It Takes Two, it becomes clear that while both are charming actors, Mary-Kate is the one with the goods. We’re introduced to Amanda playing stickball, wearing a backwards Yankees cap (because orphan) and all the other kids are like “Aye, fucka you” while Mary-Kate is all “NO! FUCKA YOU!” I’m kidding, but that’s kind of the vibe. She’s a pint-sized David Caruso. Ashley Olsen seems like she has less to prove, but that could be the prim and proper character she’s playing. I dunno. The Olsen Twins are pretty gifted is what I’m trying to say.
So yeah, you should watch It Takes Two I guess is what I’m saying. It’s from Rysher Entertainment, the production company that was also behind Turbulence and Kiss the Girls. Weird.