ABC’s “Double, Double, Toil and Trouble” is a for-kids-only Halloween treat that aspires to the old Disney kid-thrillers, but tires quickly, even with a feisty performance from Cloris Leachman. Kids may eat this up, but parents may find it’s more fun to go out and buy a pumpkin.
The star attractions are the Olsen twins, those pee-wee twins from “Full House,” who bring their 30-minute sitcom cuteness to another two-hour telefilm. However, there’s more darkness than levity in this tale, which works against the tiny twosome as they try to hold the screen with their smiles.
Script by Jurgen Wolff concerns incompatible adult twins Agatha and Sophia (both played by Leachman), who are in over their heads in witchery. At times Leachman and scripterscripter Wolff borrow from Ebeneezer Scrooge as well as the Wicked Witch of the West in their creation of her role as the penny-pinching, mortgage-foreclosing Agatha, but the character keeps viewers from throwing in the towel. Agatha’s sister Sophia, the good one, is locked in a mirror, a victim of her sister’s spell, and the vidpic centers on the battle between the old and young set of twins.
The piece would have worked better in a 90-minute slot, and director Stuart Margolin did what he could, but there are frequent lulls.
Still, characters are well-played. Besides Agatha, lifesavers are the twins’ two adult sidekicks who join the fight against Agatha: the diminutive Phil Fondacaro as their chum Oscar and rubbery Wayne Robson as a gravedigger who comes to the rescue at just the right moment. Meshach Taylor also is on hand as a transient who becomes a victim of a spell. Anyone old enough to shave — face or legs — is probably too old to be enthralled by this piece. But if you’re home on Halloween eve designing your costume for the next day, you’ll find this seasonal spec goes down easy.