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

dir. Stephen Herek. Seventeen year old Sue Ellen (Christina Applegate) is stuck at home during summer holidays, with a diabolical elderly babysitter foisted upon her while her mother is on holidays in Australia. When the babysitter becomes indisposed, Sue Ellen lies about her age to get a job at a clothing company, to provide for her younger siblings. A fun mix of movie tropes, the unsupervised children from HOME ALONE (1990), combined with the fashion industry imposter of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (2006). Not nearly as funny or fast paced as I remember, but still has a few memorable moments. I love Kimmy Robertson as the spreadsheet wiz saving Sue Ellen, she was also the Sheriff Office receptionist in ‘Twin Peaks’. It’s great watching David Duchovny in sleazy 1980s mode, with his slicked back hair, two years before ‘X-Files’. Superb use of Spinal Tap song ‘Gimme Some Money’. The business plot line does not work at all, and there is not really any suspense about Sue Ellen’s masterplan. The love plot is dismal, there is zero sexual chemistry between Sue Ellen and Chili dog delivery boy Bryan (teenage Josh Charles who played Will Gardner in ‘The Good Wife’). Sue Ellen’s constant cigarette smoking really dates the film, she smokes in the car, in front of her mother, and in the office – that alone may be reason enough not to introduce this movie to younger viewers. I love a movie montage, and the house cleaning segment at the end has to be one of the better ones from the 1990s.

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.

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