3. The Parent Trap (1998)
1998’s The Parent Trap is itself a remake of the 1961 film of the same name, but it’s arguably far more popular, and therefore spread this awful message even further. After Nick and Elizabeth meet, fall in love, and have a pair of twin girls together, they then divorce. Naturally, they move to opposite ends of the Earth with custody of one child each. The girls grow up without any knowledge of one another, until a chance encounter sees them hatch a plan to reunite their parents.
The Parent Trap has it all: identity swapping, an unpleasant stepmother, and a happy ending. After realizing that they’re still in love with one another, Nick and Elizabeth finally reconcile after 11 years apart. However, therein lies the film’s problematic message.
Now, remember, The Parent Trap is primarily aimed at a young audience, and deals with the theme of divorce. It posits that divorced parents can find love together if tricked into it – something that would undoubtedly give false hope to impressionable children of divorce. Despite what The Parent Trap says, those parents divorced for a reason. They’re probably much better off apart. (Not the twins, though… they should have been kept together from the start. You’d think a modern remake would be a chance to fix these issues, but apparently not.)