Some might find it shocking to believe that it's possible to like both the original movie, and the remake. As the days approaching the release of this DCOM were fading away, I read posts by people who thought this was an attack on their childhood memories of the original, as well as those who were against all remakes no matter what. My childhood was long over when this came out, so that didn't bother me, and even if it wasn't I wouldn't have taken any offense to the remake's existence.
Sabrina Carpenter plays the new version of Chris Parker, named Jenny. She and Lola Perez (Sofia Carson), are artistic photographers competing for an apparently exclusive internship. During this interview both girls bump into each other and get their cell phones mixed-up, in a scene right out of "Stuck in the Suburbs." After they're done, Lola gets a parking ticket (one of many), from a rookie traffic cop who she develops a crush on. Desperate for cash to pay for that ticket, she accepts a babysitting job that was supposed to be offered to Jenny. Lola's charges turn out to be roller derby fan AJ Anderson, would-be pre-teen chef Bobby Anderson, and unknowingly teenage would be rebel Trey Anderson.
Former Miranda Cosgrove look-alike Nikki Hahn plays Emily Cooper, a 14-year-old emo girl who is determined to either shave her hair off or dye it green just to be noticed. She's the complete polar opposite of her 7-year-old sister Katy, who makes Quinn Morgendorffer look like the biggest bull dyke in the Bedford Hills Women's Prison. These two end up with Jenny as their babysitter, and when she calls up Lola's kids to check on her phone just as chaos is breaking out there, she drives the Cooper kids to the Anderson house hoping to intervene.
The runaway here is not frantic nerdy friend Brenda, but semi-cool rebellious teen Trey, who escapes from his room just as Jenny and her charges arrive, and unlike Penelope Ann Miller's character just wants to score some concert tickets. The girls look at his laptop and find out he was getting them from a pawn shop in the "big bad city," and decide to drive off in the GMC Yukon XL owned by the Anderson matriarch. When they arrive at the pawn shop, they find the owner is dealing with a stolen rare Saphire Ferrett, which Bobby Anderson spooks and accidentally lets loose in the store. Lola loves the commotion and takes pictures of the incident leading to a big chase in the city which is compromised by having that SUV towed away. Most of the chases with the bad guys have been compared to "Home Alone," and justifiably so. When they finally arrive at the pizza restaurant Trey loves, Lola talks him into giving away his tickets so she can scalp it and use the money to get Mrs. Anderson's SUV out of the impound. Emily isn't so happy when she finds that Trey and her friends are all ga-ga over Jenny. From this we can conclude that Trey Anderson is a combination of both Keith Coogan's character and Penelope Ann Miller's. After another chase, Lola tries to scalp the tickets but gets caught by the cops. A.J. Anderson's "Thor" is Roller Derby girl "Jailer Swift," and she meets her idol while her team and their rivals get busted for fighting outside of the rink. When they finally let Lola go, and the two roller derby teams get into another fight, the cops send them outside, right into the hands of the crooked pawn shop employees, and another chase begins.
Instead of stumbling into a blues night club and being forced to sing the blues, Jenny is forced to rap at a night club by a DJ, and Emily encourages Lola to turn it into a rap battle. Despite the fact that they both trash each other on stage (although the trashing is nowhere near as fierce as in "Let it Shine"), they actually bond with each other. Between the two of them Sofia Carson is the better dancer. Is it because she's older, taller, and more developed than Sabrina Carpenter? Maybe... or maybe not. Either way, most of the kids are impressed with both of them, except for Emily, who Jenny tries to cheer up before they finally find a way to get the money for the same towing company (albeit different driver), that towed the Anderson's SUV to the impound in this movie, as the one that towed the Buick Electra Estate Station Wagon through Chicago in 1987.
Fans of the original SHOULD see the remake. They should look for every contemporary version of the original scenes, and not just the rap battle between Carpenter and Carson replacing the Albert Collins-Elizabeth Shue concert. None of the girls are mistaken for playboy models, but horny guys will enjoy Sofia Carson in a one-piece bathing suit to make up for it. Nobody gets stuck on the ledge of a building or gets sidelined to the friend zone at least for that long. There's also no "Lords of Hell," to mess with, or any cheating boyfriends. Likewise, kids who would only know of the remake should see the original, if they haven't already. I almost considered listing scene comparisons and contrasts between the two versions as my review, but I changed my mind. Though it's more adventure than comedy, I got a big kick out of it, and I just think purists who are fans of the original shouldn't be dissuaded to see the new version due to a knee-jerk aversion to remakes and give it a break.