Why ‘It Takes Two’ will always be my favorite Olsen Twins movie

The Olsen Twins really shaped my whole childhood.  I loved everything they did, from Full House to The Adventures of Mary Kate & Ashley to all the straight-to-video movies where they traipsed around the world.  Everything they did was awesome, but there was nothing I loved as much as It Takes Two, which came out on this day in 1995.  With the 20th anniversary coming up, I decided to revisit what makes it the best movie in their extremely long filmography.  

A trademark of any good MK & A movie is a plot that has them dealing with some issue way too mature for children to deal with.  They’ve been kidnapped, fought witches, saved a ranch, stopped a robbery resulting in being placed in the Witness Protection Program, and played matchmakers for their parents too many times to count.  And all that by the time they were 16!  

It Takes Two is no exception.  Amanda and Alyssa are identical strangers who literally run into each other when wealthy Alyssa is running away from her mansion and orphan Amanda runs away from her camp which happen to be across a lake from each other.  Both of them have less-than-great home lives.  Alyssa’s dad is on the verge of marrying an awful woman named Clarice who doesn’t care about Alyssa (or her dad) at all.  Amanda is about the be adopted by a terrible family with an even worse name: Butkis.

When the girls run into each other they decide to switch places in an attempt to get Alyssa’s dad (’90s heartthrob Steve Guttenberg) to meet Amanda’s social worker Diane (perfectly charming Kirstie Alley) which would solve all their problems!  Clarice would be out of the picture, and Diane would then be financially stable enough to adopt Amanda and save her from the Butkises.  It’s a perfect plan, but in true Olsen Twins fashion, chaos ensues.   There are some key differences between this and every other Mary Kate & Ashley movie, though.  

It’s all about the girls together

Most of their films pair each girl with an equally adorable boy that accompanies them on their adventures.  But not this time!  The girls know what they want—a loving family—and they don’t need any help on their mission.  Instead of a boy, Amanda actually gets a great bestie, Carmen.

The supporting cast is completely perfect

There are no boys, but there are some awesome supporting characters.  Some of the later movies have the girls taking up almost all of the screen time.  In It Takes Two, they seem to understand how great their cast is, and let them shine as well.  Kirstie Alley and Steve Guttenberg are both charming and lovable, and you can’t help but root for them to get together.  

The plot is straightforward and keeps you on your toes

It’s based on Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, so the plot was sort of written for them already. Some of the other Olsen Twins movies can be a little too elaborate, IMHO—they constantly have to stop government conspiracies or save the wrongfully arrested.  But this one is simple enough.  Stop a wedding.  Play Cupid.  Live happily ever after.  

It has the most epic food fight in cinematic history

Come on, how many times do you get to watch people pick macaroni and cheese out of their hair?

It gives us one of the all-time best descriptions of love

Kirstie Alley’s character has had her share of men problems in the past.  She explains to Amanda that it’s not so easy to find a husband, because she has high standards (as we all totally should).  So what’s she looking for, exactly?  That “can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over- the-fence, World Series kind of stuff.”  It’s what we all deserve, really.

[Image via Warner Bros. Family Entertainment]