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Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead (1991)

DVD Cover (HBO Studios)
Genres:
Comedy, Domestic Comedy, Teen Comedy
Director:
Stephen Herek Stephen Herek
Starring:
Christina Applegate Christina Applegate
Joanna Cassidy Joanna Cassidy
John Getz John Getz
Josh Charles Josh Charles
Keith Coogan Keith Coogan

6.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Sue Ellen Crandell is a teenager eagerly awaiting her mother's summer-long absence. While the babysitter looks after her rambunctious younger siblings, Sue Ellen can party and have fun. But then the babysitter abruptly dies, leaving the Crandells short on cash. Sue Ellen finds a sweet job in fashion by lying about her age and experience on her résumé. But, while her siblings run wild, she discovers the downside of adulthood --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 14, 2007
This film is a classic. I have been on a bit of a Stephen Herek kick lately and he's responsible for more classic 1980's/1990's films than I realized: "Critters", "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure", "The Mighty Ducks", "The Three Musketeers", "Mr. Holland's Opus" -- and this one. I remember when this film was first released, and the MTV crowd was all over it. It took in around $25 million, which is quite a bit for a film like this, with no bankable stars. At the time, only Christina Applegate was really any kind of a draw, and at the time she was only known for her role as Kelly on "Married With Children". So, the fact this film did $25 million is a fine accomplishment.

When their mother leaves town on a three-month vacation, five kids are stuck with a sadistic and elderly babysitter, Mrs. Sturak (Eda Reiss Merin), who turns their lives into a daily boot camp. But, when Mrs. Sturak dies from a heart attack, the kids are left alone, to fend for themselves. All of this goes all right, at first, but then they run out of both money and food and realize something has to be done. So, sister Sue Ellen (Christina Applegate) applies for a job at a local fashion company and actually gets it. The job is rather high profile and the position catapults Sue Ellen into the world of high fashion as she desperately tries to take care of her family and keep her newfound employers and friends from learning that she is really just a high school girl.

So many things to love about this film. It just has this frantic kind of humor to it that is present in almost all of Stephen Herek's films. You can tell just how intentionally it was generated for the MTV crowd, but this film has a very apt script from a couple of guys who went on to write for "Melrose Place" and other lame dramas. Christina Applegate is fantastic in the lead role, and who would have thought she would finish her run on "Married With Children" eventually and become quite the capable comedic lead in "Anchorman"? Staple of the 1980's, Keith Coogan offers very zealous support as the rock and roll brother, Kenny. Joanna Cassidy is perfect in the role of Sue Ellen's boss, Rose; and character actor John Getz is just as villainous and sleazy as ever as Gus. It's also nice to spot David Duchovny in one of his early roles as a co-worker trying to ruin Sue Ellen's fun.

And what about all the memorable scenes here? How about Kenny and his friends on the rooftop 'doing the dishes' in very "Dazed and Confused" fashion -- "The dishes are done, man." How about the cranky old babysitter ending the middle kid's date a little too son -- "Time for little trollops to go home." There are numerous scenes in this film that, when combined into one singular creation, mold into a very clever, very funny comedy with one of the most expressive and appropriate titles ever for a film. "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead". That's a title that will attract an audience, especially a younger one. And it obviously did. And still does. 9/10.
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Edd #1: Edd - added 05/15/2007, 10:42 AM
Loved this film. Grew up with it even. "The dishes are done, man" 10/10
Lucid Dreams #2: Lucid Dreams - added 11/22/2010, 03:28 AM
HOLY SHIT! Old skool right here dawg! I remember watching this a few times in my youth. 8/10
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