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Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead
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Index 78 reviews in total 

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Much better than is to be expected

Author: mrsastor from United States
1 June 2007

I loved this movie, I found it very entertaining and would recommend it.

I'm often surprised at the points people get hung up on in reviewing movies. They are, after all, FICTION. The main "controversy" surrounding this plot seems to be Sue Ellen's job. I have done office work for over 25 years and yes, it is entirely possible that Sue Ellen could have landed that position without too much trouble. Maybe not inside of five minutes at the first firm she walked into, but using a faked resume, as she was, she could have obtained a pretty soft office job without too much trouble. Some firms I've worked for would verify your more recent work experience, but many others never verify anything on a resume, and I've never once in all my years known of anyone to verify the education one claimed to have. Indeed, I've often kicked myself that I could have claimed to have some precious, worthless high dollar degree and no one would have questioned it.

Beyond this, the movie is awfully good for this genre of film. We see the children unexpectedly learning valuable life lessons and it changing them into better people. It's really a rather wholesome movie considering the time period and target audience. I've let my nephews, nieces, and grandchildren watch in my home, there is nothing more objectionable than the very occasional swear word in it.

One of my favorite movies from an otherwise dry period in Hollywood, highly recommended.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

1 crappy film, 2 great premises

Author: Mike Kiker ( from Philadelphia, PA
3 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This really should've been 2 movies. There are 2 great premises here that are almost completely unrelated that are just squashed together into 1 not-so-good film. We have the hilarious slapstick comedy of covering up the death of an elderly babysitter, and a woman trying to find a way to save the company she works for (which is a movie that I personally wouldn't have cared for, but probably would've made a great chick flick), both of which could've easily carried themselves over an hour and a half each.

Instead, all we get is a half-hour of comedy and an hour of boring Yuppie-ville Corporate America, with the plot of the first half-hour poking it's head every so often, mercilessly trying to remind us that we're supposed to be watching a comedy. But just as quickly as those every-so-often's come up, they disappear back into the void.

And they should've done away with the 'no money, gotta get a job' plot device, as that was pretty much what killed the rest of this film. They could've developed a lot more comedy just out of them say... having a party and trashing the house, or relatives come looking for the babysitter, or mother comes home early, or from the fact that they should've just called an ambulance in the first place seeing as how the babysitter really did die of natural causes and they wouldn't have been in any trouble anyway, or any number of possible plot devices that could've been so much funnier than Christina Applegate parading around in Yuppie-land. And as for that part of the film being it's own movie, this section has a lot more detail than the first half. Just add a bit more character development to the supporting cast, and bam, you got that film.

The acting is overall fairly decent though. Christina Applegate is definitely convincing as both the valley girl and the yuppie. Keith Coogan as Kenny and the hilarious pranks that him and his gang pull are sadly underused in my opinion, although his transformation from stoner slacker to Julia Child-obsessed chef throughout the film is one of the best parts of the film. Josh Charles (whom everybody would remember as anchor Dan Rydell from the show Sports Night) as the boyfriend Bryan does a fairly decent job here as well.

Eda Reiss Merin as the elderly babysitter had me scared stiff. The actress also was sadly underused before the character's untimely death. I mean, come on. The title of the movie is based on this character. Had that been it's own movie (forsaking the Corporate America bit, as I suggested earlier), they could've developed the character a lot more. Maybe have her dole out some worse embarrassments and harsher punishments to the children before her death.

Most of the actors in the latter part of the film were pretty stiff. The actress who played Carolyn should've been replaced, as it seemed that she read her lines like a wannabe actress in a poorly written commercial. I was however surprised to see David Duchovny (long before his triumphs on The X-Files & Californication) with the worst hair cut the 80's had to offer, and stiff as a board in the acting department.

So basically that's it. 2 good premises, but one overall lousy film.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"What are we going to tell them? Liza Minnelli stole our Buick!"

Author: jjnxn-1 from United States
14 May 2013

Okay right from the top this is not great art but with that title were you really expecting it to be? If you want that go watch a three hour Ingmar Bergman film but if you want a breezy, silly comedy with good performances and a snappy pace than this is for you.

The whole setup is preposterous but so are many 80 & 90's comedies, Adventures in Babysitting, Home Alone etc, but once this one gets past its bumpy intro scenes it actually becomes a more focused story of a young girl finding her way through unexpected responsibilities.

It helps a great deal that the cast headed by two very good actresses. Christina Applegate as Sue Ellen the young teen who finds out she is more resourceful than she realized and the marvelous Joanna Cassidy as Rose, her new boss. Keith Coogan is also a lot of fun as stoner brother Kenny who belatedly grows up.

Besides the good performances the film is filled with some amusing quotes, enjoyable situations and a flashback to 90's fashion. A pleasant diversion but again don't expect anything high toned and you'll enjoy the ride.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A No-Brainier Comedy

Author: Rainey-Dawn from United States
28 June 2014

This is a funny no-brainier comedy with a group of kids about as dorky as the cast from "Fast Times At Ridgemont High", not quite as stylish as clan from "The Breakfast Club" and not as cool as the gang from "Grease". But this group does have a way of making you laugh in-spite the fact the babysitter is dead.

While you are grabbing a bit of fast food on the way home be sure to pick up this movie too. It is a good watch if you are wanting to see a stupid but funny teenage packed comedy flick.

This movie may make a good double-flick night with "Weekend at Bernie's" or "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure".


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

90's gem I still love to this day!

Author: I_Love_Jason_Sudeikis
28 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this in the early 90's when I was a kid repeatedly and it holds special memories for me to this day. Plot involves Sue Ellen and her siblings mom going out of town for a while and the kids are left in with cranky old babysitter who dies. So Sue Ellen's siblings wastes away funds Mom left and Sue Ellen looks for a summer job to provide for them and lies her way into getting job at fashion company. She befriends the boss, works her ay up and eventually Mom comes home and sees all that happened of course. It is a super funny and fun movie and I recommend it to anyone. anyone who enjoys a good comedy and wants a good 90's nostalgic feel!!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Forgotten Comedy Classic From 1991

Author: FloatingOpera7 from United States
15 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead (1991): Christina Applegate, Joanna Cassidy, John Getz, Keith Coogan, Josh Charles, Concetta Tomei, David Duchovny, Kimmy Robertson, Jayne Brook, Eda Reiss Merin, Robert Hy Goman, Christopher Pettiet, Chris Claridge, Danielle Harris, Jeff Bollow, Alejandro Quezada, Michael Kopelow, Wendy Brainard, Sarah Buxton, Laurie Morrison, Kawena Charlot, Deborah Tucker, Sydney Lassick, Michelle Mais, Oscar Jordan, Marc Epstein, Frank Dent, Steve Ruggles, Kristen Corbett, Carl Tramon, Ethan Wilson, Logan Duncan, Robert F. Newmeyer....Director Stephen Herek, Screnplay Neil Landau, Tara Ison.

Comedy on film was much better 16-20 years ago, as with this 1991 film from Director Stephen Herek. "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead" was successful at the box office and before long it was not only on VHS but even on television (Fox 11 aired this film owing to the fact its star Christina Applegate was a cast member in their hit show "Married With Children".) Applegate portrays Sue Ellen Crandell, the spoiled daughter of a single mother (Concetta Tomei) who takes off on much needed three-month vacation for the summer. The siblings are unruly, the eldest is lazy, irresponsible freeloading "rocker" type, and when the mother takes off on her vacation, they are confident they will enjoy freedom. But the mother hires a babysitter, an elderly woman, who is tough on them. It's not long before she has a heart attack and dies. It's up to Sue Ellen to support her siblings by taking a job in clothing/fashion production. Lying in her resume, she accidentally lands a job as the personal assistant to the editor Rose Lindsey (Joanna Cassidy), striking up jealousies and rivalries with co-workers Carolyn and Bruce (Jayne Brook and David Duchovny). It's nice to see David Duchovny before his X-files fame but the part is no big thing. The real star here is Christina Applegate who matures from irresponsible teen to working adult. The plot may be far-fetched but it works owing to a good script and fine acting. Plenty of funny lines, a little romance, and a coming-of-age story makes this a winning comedy.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

AWESOME--A pure comedy and VERY fun to watch.

Author: Dudester7
13 January 2004

This movie is different. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge movie critic and have all sorts of favorite top-notch movie that this may not compare to (Lord of the Rings for instance)--but when I watched "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" I absolutely loved it! I still watch it whenever it's on cable. This movie is HILARIOUS, and I'm dead serious! I laughed so many times throughout the film.

I really like it though because of the HUGE family concept it had in it. When I was watching, I dreamed of being in that family with the Crandells (Sue Ellen "Swell", Kenny, Melissa, Zach and Walter) spending my "summer vacation" with them 'cuz they looked like they were having a BLAST! That would have been awesome if they were all a family in real life today, yes, even in 2004, 'cuz they were a perfect 5!

Let's get to the notable lines....check this out, out of all the movies I've seen in life, this one really stood out with the character lines....some were funny and very memorable..

"where's Caryolyn, always late, nerver answering calls, ---- Sue ellen "talks like she's chewing her face..."

"that's her..."

Kenny on the phone w/mom on the dead old babysitter: "uhh...she's not here, she......she went to the yarn store..."

Walter yellin kenny for help with the new tv that came in: "kenny! kenny I need you!... help! somethin's wrong with the TV antenna!"

kenny: "I...(coughing eating too many waffles and syrups w/his frenz upstairs) I....agh..cough.cough....ackkhh.....have bob barker help ya!" -- lol

Rose NEVER getting mad at sue ellen: "you let cathy do the q.e.d. report?! "uh..huh.." i was wondering, how you were gonna get that and the other files done at the same time! bravo!"

zach usin swell's $$ to buy cynthia a diamond: "you bought her a diamond?! how much was it zach? "it was a chip!.."

Melissa's turn to take out the trash: "melissa it's your turn to take out the trash" " i couldn't fit in my schedule..."

kenny mad @ swell for the party she was having: "i'm stuck here, cooking and cleaning, helping melissa with her homework, being a role model for zack, spending quality time with walter!, doing your Party shit!! You know I'm sick and tired of not bein appreciated anymore!!" swell: "i appreciate you!..." kenny: "EAT S H I T ! !"-- LOL dude that was THE funniest moment of the entire movie!! look at kenny's face when he says that!

so you see, it was hilarious! man I can go on and on about how much the crandells looked like they were havin fun. In 1991, it seriously did look fun. this is prob. the only movie where it is very teen flicky and manages to keep itself as a high-class movie (as opposed to those other stupid teen flicks about girls and guys dating all the time), since this had a bit of maturity knocked into it with sue ellen workin at that gaw company.

All in all, one of my favs. I just thought it was AWESOME. Two words to describe if I can, "fun" and "interesting".

Loved it!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Quick Reviews!!

Author: malkane316 from NI
7 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A brilliant look at early nineties family, and more importantly teen life. Firstly, teen movies of today all seem to be set in school, and involve getting a date or a shag. Usually every character is hollow except the main one who we are supposed to cheer for, but more often than not they are hollow too. The actors are chosen for their looks and although they mostly give competent performances, they give nothing special, the film offers no insight, and nothing much happens. This is why Buffy (series) shone so greatly-brilliant stories, brilliant acting, extremely well developed characters. But it probably isn't fair to compare a long running TV show to a crappy film. However, DTMTBD proves that teen comedies do not have to be hollow, and lack humour, but can have a good story, good performances, many funny moments, and offer a message about life other than the rubbish spouted nowadays.

DTMTBD is set in the summer holidays, far from school, just the way we like it. The Crandalls are a large, fatherless family, and their mom needs a break, going to Europe for the whole summer. The 5 children believe they are going to be left alone to party etc for 3 months, but of course that does not happen, and they each learn a lesson about life. It may sound cheesy, but the dark humour ensures that there is a balance. Sue Ellen is the oldest, but is only 17, and therefore mum hires a babysitter. At first it seems that the kids will still be able to do as they please, but it turns out that the babysitter has been sent from the deepest darkest depths of Hell. (met. speak) She sets down rules, chores and is going to prevent them from having any fun.

However, when she sees Kenny's (oldest son) room she has a heart-attack and dies. They decide to get rid of the body, in a good, respectful way, and continue with their lives-taking her car too of course. All goes well until the car, along with their money is stolen. Their summer allowance is gone 1 week in, but rather than give in to their mum they decide to struggle on. Sue Ellen gets a job, the rest mess about, and soon tensions arise. Melissa (danielle Harris) is annoyed because no-one came to her baseball match, while the others struggle with girls and personal injuries. Sue Ellen has no clue about her job, lying on her CV, but the money is rolling in, and she has her own boy troubles. Sue-Ellen comes to the rescue of her boss, deciding to hold a fashion show at her house, where the rest of the family finally help out. Of course, nothing goes smoothly.

It is a light-hearted look at teen life, fear of the future, wanting responsibility but not knowing how to cope with it, trying to balance a job, friends, family, work, boyfriend etc, but the often dark humour is very funny. Kenny gives many funny moments, getting the dog stoned and shooting the dishes rather than cleaning them, while Danielle Harris gives another brilliant performance in a small role. Applegate is perfect, delivering her lines with smooth wit and sarcasm, and showing the pressure she is under with skill. Other funny moments involve Sue-Ellen' antics with her boss's lover, and there are plenty of one-liners. The one about the cucumber and the one about Santa Barbara are good. Kenny learns that he can still be cool if he goes to school, and that life is not for sitting around, while Sue-Ellen learns that trying to grow up too quick can be dangerous. The movie says that None of us really grow up, we just get older and while this happens we should never forget who we are. As silly as it sounds it is true none the less, and few films show this better. 10 out of 10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

a time when movies were entertainment

Author: John Benson
18 April 2015

today movies are violent more than ever before. they are evil and this is the norm of action flicks of today.

Now let me welcome you to a time when movies were entertainment. Don't tell mom the babysitter's dead is absolutely from a better day and a better time of life. It reflects not just what the movie style is but it actually was a sign of the times reflected in the movie. No longer will you find movies like this.

if you see this review without seeing the movie then find the movie watch the movie the acting directing scripts are all innocently and well directed making this one of the most delightful movies ever made.

comparing it to movies of today this movie gets an easy 10 out of 10 for just pure fun. After watching this movie I swear you will feel good at the end not like movies of today. I guarantee you will be smiling and glad that you watched this movie. So what are you waiting for entertain yourself with some quality from the past

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:


Author: kai ringler from United States
29 December 2013

I really enjoyed this movie,, very funny, lot's of humor,, you have an old grandma, who looks 90, acts like a drill sergeant towards the kids,, the boy is totally reckless, clueless and lazy,, the teen girl actually shows ambition, and wants to earn money,, not like today's teen girls that's for sure.. Christina Appelgate stole the show for me,, I wish her career would have blossomed, the parents go to Australia for 3 months, and the kids are left with a mean old lady to babysit them,, shortly thereafter the babysitter crokes,, and the kids are left alone to fend for themselves... I got many a laugh out of this movie,, which is exactly why I bought it for in the first place.. not to mention,, Christina Appelgate..

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