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Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (DVD, 2009, P&S) Reviews
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Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (DVD, 2009, P&S)

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Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Mar 10, 2011
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Entertaining movie.

Cons:Plot could be stronger.  Character issues.

The Bottom Line: Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead has some issues, but it manages to work as an entertaining movie overall.


I first saw Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead several years ago.  It isn't one of my favorite movies, but it does manage to be entertaining.  I just watched the movie again when I found it on television.

Sue Ellen is disappointed that she can't go on a trip with her friends to Europe, but she is still hoping to have fun over the summer since her mother is going to Australia for a few months.  Sue Ellen is figuring that her younger siblings will take care of each other, leaving her free to have fun.  Before leaving, Mrs. Crandall shares that she has hired a babysitter, Mrs. Sturak, to watch over the kids.  Things go from bad to worse when the kids discover Mrs. Sturak dead.  Instead of reporting it to anyone, the kids cover up her death and Sue Ellen decides to get a job.  Thanks to a fake resume, she ends up being hired as an executive administrative assistant.  Sue Ellen has to try to keep things running at home and keep up the pretense at work.

The plot for Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is very simple and there are definitely some believability issues with it.  It does seem out of place that a mother would go to Australia for months, leaving a stranger in charge of her children.  Mrs. Crandall only occasionally calls to check on them and she doesn't question why she's never able to talk to Mrs. Sturak.  No friends or other relatives check on the children.  Sue Ellen doesn't know what she is doing with her job, but she manages to bluff her way through it and even get put in charge of an important project.  When they discover that Mrs. Sturak has died, they don't report it.  Instead they cover it up, wanting to have a summer without adult supervision.  I don't like how that aspect of the plot is dealt with.  Though if it had been handled differently, there wouldn't have been much of a movie.  There are a few minor complications that pop up, but there really aren't any surprises with how things work out.  It would have been nice if the plot had been a little more complicated.

I think that Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is considered a comedy.  Several things that happen are funny, though not everything done as an attempt to add humor works.  Some things are just stupid or silly instead of being funny Despite that, those things still mostly end up helping to make the movie more entertaining.  Some of the humor does end up being a bit twisted, which works considering the plot of the movie.  I do think the movie could have been a bit funnier.

While trying to keep up at work and keep things at home from getting too crazy, Sue Ellen also starts dating Bryan.  He works at the fast food restaurant that Sue Ellen first gets a job at.  It is understandable why she is interested in him, though there isn't enough time for that subplot to be dealt with properly.  Rose, the woman that Sue Ellen works for, also has some relationship issues that pop up a few times.  That is really it for any sort of romance in the movie.

None of the characters in Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead are that developed.  They are all very one dimensional, even the few that manage to change or evolve a bit.  When the movie begins, the Crandall kids are basically brats just concerned with themselves.  Some of them can't even be bothered to tell their mom bye before she leaves on her trip.  As things happen, they do start changing their attitudes a bit, especially Kenny.  It is difficult to like them at times.  Kenny is probably the one that stands out the most.  The actors are fine in their parts, though nothing special.

Sue Ellen is the main character for the movie and ends up with the most to do.  She does go through some changes and matures while still somehow remaining a one dimensional character.  She is mostly just focused on having fun, though that does start changing later in the movie.  She does have a bit of an attitude for a while.  She is mostly likable and Christina Applegate does fine with the part.  Mrs. Crandall is barely in the movie.  She isn't around enough to get to like her.

Bryan seems really nice, but again, he isn't around enough to be more than a flat supporting character.  Josh Charles is fine in the part.  It just would have been nice if he'd had more to do.  Carolyn is a receptionist who thought she was getting the job that Sue Ellen ends up getting.  As a result, Carolyn hates Sue Ellen and tries to sabotage her every chance she gets.  Carolyn is a very flat character, though she does add a bit of conflict.  Jayne Brook is fine in the part.  David Duchovny turns up briefly as Bruce, a guy who plots with Carolyn against Sue Ellen.  Joanna Cassidy does fine as Rose, Sue Ellen's boss.  Rose has a few of her own issues she's trying to deal with.

Main Cast

Christina Applegate - Sue Ellen
Jayne Brook - Carolyn
Joanna Cassidy - Rose
Josh Charles - Bryan
Keith Coogan - Kenny
David Duchovny - Bruce
Robert Hy Gorman - Walter
Danielle Harris - Melissa
Christopher Pettiet - Zack
Concetta Tomei - Mrs. Crandall

Stephen Herek - Director

I found Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead on one of the HBO channels I get when I decided to watch it again.  I think the movie is available on DVD.  I'm not sure if it is available on Blu-ray or not.

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is fun and entertaining overall, though it does have a few issues.  Fans of Christina Applegate may find something to like about the movie.


Recommend this product? Yes


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