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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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I'm Right On Top Of That, Rose

Dec 31, 2000 (Updated Apr 26, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Light Comedy

Cons:Mediocre Among The 80/90's Teen Flicks

Preamble
Thanks for tolerating my week off from work. I should be winding down my movie reviews and re-gearing up on the music reviews here shortly.

Historical Stuff
In the 1980ís and early 90ís, teens and young adults were catered to in the movie world. First, John Hughes entertained us with his outstanding features, (Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club). Then others like Joel Schumacher and Chris Columbus followed suit churning out hits such as St. Elmoís Fire and Adventures In Babysitting.

Shortly after the release of Pretty Woman, the quality of teen and young adult flicks seemed to diminish.

In 1991, Stephen Herek (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures) attempted to keep the genre alive and breathing with this movie, Donít Tell Mom The Babysitterís Dead

Plot
Mom (Conchetta Tomei) leaves her five children (ages ranging 8-17) home while she takes a two month trip to Australia with her boyfriend. Not trusting them to take care of themselves, mom hires a babysitter that is older than dirt. The kids barely have time to rebel against her militant nature. She dies in her sleep, just a day in to momís trip. As the oldest sibling, Sue Ellen (Christina Applegate), drops all of her summer plans in order to provide for her brothers and sister. Following the typical teenager route, she takes a position as a cook at a greasy chili hotdog stand. Before she quits that same day, she meets her Prince Charming, a fellow co-worker by the name of Bryan (Josh Charles). They start dating and love is a wonderful thing.

Meanwhile, donít mind Sue Ellen as she happens to back herself into an Executive Administrative Assistantís job at big clothing uniform hitter, GAW. She only went in with her forged-from-a-resume-book resume to land the receptionist position. Too bad the girl she just beat out for the position is GULP!, Bryanís sister (Jayne Brook). The boss, Rose (Joanna Cassidy) believes that Sue Ellen can do anything. She does her best not to let her boss down.

Meanwhile, Kenny (Keith Corrigan), Sue Ellenís oldest brother (but younger sibling), is forced to clean up his marijuana act and he takes on some of his own responsibility. While Sue Ellen works, Kenny takes care of the other children and manages to watch cooking shows which of course, leads him to whipping up his own masterpieces.

Does Sue Ellen find true love with Bryan? Does Sue Ellen get exposed by the evil sister, Carolyn? Does Sue Ellenís mother ever find out what really happened? Rent the video and find out.

Analyze Me Baby
The acting, like most of the acting of the (teen) movies in the 80's/early 90's is not what one would consider to be Oscar worthy. Consider this though, the material given to them wasn't anywhere in that ballpark either. That's okay because the audience for this movie isn't looking for a life-altering experience, just plain good fun.

Some of the situations that Sue Ellen is put into stretches believability. For example, today, she probably wouldn't be able to back herself into a non-entry level position due to all of the personnel crud someone has to go through just to be employed (i.e. we need 3000 forms of identification and proof that you can work in this country).

Another example, would a mother stay away for almost two months when every time she calls, the babysitter isn't available to speak to her? Oh, probably not. But hey, if she had acted like a responsible mother, then we wouldn't have seen all of the antics that Sue Ellen was able to pull off.

Probably the most believable part of the movie has to do with Sue Ellen's romance with Bryan. Unfortunately, the movie is so busy trying to reconcile the issues with Sue Ellen juggling the responsibilities of work and her siblings that it doesn't give the romance nearly enough face time.

Cast Notes
Christina Applegate is easily recognizable as Kelly from the now defunct Fox hit series, Married With Children. Although this film didnít do much to stretch her acting abilities, it gave the audience an opportunity to see that she was a little bit more than a just blonde bimbet. Christinaís appearance, although youthful, allowed her to carry off this part.

Josh Charles is probably one of those guys you know youíve seen, youíre just not sure where. Heís most famous for his role in Dead Poetís Society, which was released two years prior to this movie. He did a fine job of playing the mediocre part of the love struck teenage boy. Josh is a better actor than this film allowed him to be. But thatís okay, every one makes mistakes.

Joanna Cassidy is an absolute hoot. I first ran into her when she played Marilee Gray on the tv mini-series Hollywood Wives. As the typical supporting actress type, Joanna gives a fine performance. Her character, which was better written than almost all of the others gave us two sides of the middle-aged, female executive. While leading her company through a recession type period, she was also worried about her wrinkles and getting that right man to commit to her.

Jayne Brook is best known for her role as Dr. Diane Grad on Chicago Hope. If youíve seen her in that role, be prepared to be surprised by her character. She's ruthless, conniving, and not one bit the humanitarian that she was in Chicago Hope.

Keith Corrigan's character has the biggest transformation (if you can call it that) in this film. He goes from a pot-smoking, irresponsible slouch to a responsible, caring, teenager. The turnaround was quick and stretched the imagination just a bit but it was enjoyable to watch. Keith is another one of those film actors from the 80's/90's that you've seen elsewhere. Oddly, he was in the only other babysitter-titled movie I have ever heard of, Adventures in Babysitting.

DVD Tidbits
Yes ladies and gentlemen, I actually rented this dvd. What do you get with the dvd version that you can't get from the video version? Well, if you enjoy subtitles, you have your choice of English, Spanish, and/or French. And if you think you need to know more information about the cast and crew, then have at it because it's all here. Otherwise, nothing is different from the VHS version.

The Music
In the 80's and early 90's, films were closely connected to their soundtracks. Although a soundtrack was released with this movie, you won't find it in a store near you. It went out of print. The songs were from other artists that were featured in similar movies - Modern English is a prime example. But unlike other films, none of the songs in this movie were popular and all of them faded into the background of the story line.

Other Tidbits
This one's for you Jen...Did you know that your gawd, David Duchovny has a bit role in this movie as Carolyn's conniving co-worker? Yep, and he's hardly recognizable!

This one's for you Simpsons fans. In the beginning, when the credits are appearing, Dan Castellaneta (Homer J. himself) is the voice of the animated babysitter.

The End
This hardly an oscar-worthy film however, it's something cute to pop in and enjoy at face value.

Other Movies That Might Interest You
Any of the ones listed in the first couple of paragraphs are good ones to start with. If you've already seen them, continue with Risky Business, Say Anything, and Real Genius.


Recommend this product? Yes

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