Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Blame the smash of 'Home Alone' for the new herd of kids-on-the-loose movies. Let's hope none are dumber than this one. Christina Applegate, who plays Kelly Bundy with such slutty verve on Married . . . With Children, stars as Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell, the eldest of a brood of five (ages six to seventeen). Their divorced mom has left them for the summer with baby sitter Lil Sturak (Eda Reiss Merin), a gentle old biddy who turns into Rambo when Mom exits. "All right, you maggots," she says, blowing her whistle, "line up."

Lil dies quickly of heart or script failure, and the kids dump her at the mortuary, eager for a parent-free summer. Since Mom's money got buried with Lil, Swell must work. She lucks into a job with a clothing manufacturer by faking her rTsumT and adding ten years to her age (the star is actually nineteen).

There's no telling how the unflatteringly photographed Applegate delivers a comic line on the big screen, because Tara Ison and Neil Landau haven't written her any. And it's painful to see pros like Joanna Cassidy and John Getz stuck in this sewage. Director Stephen Herek does what you'd expect from the man who gave us Critters and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, i.e., grinds out the film equivalent of processed cheese.

From The Archives Issue 235: March 24, 1977