Film Review: DON’T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER’S DEAD (2024): Simone Joy Jones Lights Up a Successful Comedy Remake of an Iconic 1990’s Film SuperNayr

Simone Joy Jones And Co Dont Tell Mom The Babysitters Dead

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead Review

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Wade Allain-Marcus, written by Chuck Hayward, Neil Landau and Tara Ison and starring Simone Joy Jones, Nicole Richie, Miles Fowler, Donielle T. Hansley Jr., June Squibb, Ayaamii Sledge, Carter Young, Jermaine Fowler, Iantha Richardson, Tyriq Withers, Gus Kenworthy, Patricia Williams, Trishna, Josh Archer, Lizet Upia, Phoenix Parnevik and Dominique Toney.

In June of 1991, there was a hysterical comedy that was highly enjoyable. It starred Christina Applegate as a teenager who is forced to get a job to take care of her siblings on short notice. It had heart, humor and was totally entertaining. Now, some 33 years later, a remake of that film, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, brings the story back to the screen for a new generation of moviegoers. This new picture, directed by Wade Allain-Marcus, is surprisingly good with Simone Joy Jones taking the Applegate role and doing it quite well. Though the story remains largely the same, some elements have been tweaked for modern times. In fact, at one point, one of the kids in the movie says, “This isn’t 1991.” That may be true but the basic story line is as enjoyable as it ever was.

This updated version of the source material has a roughly 20-minute long pre-opening credits sequence. In this picture, Jones plays Tanya Crandell, a 17-year-old girl with aspirations to attend Howard University. She has a younger brother (Carter Young) and a younger sister (the delightful Ayaamii Sledge). According to Tanya’s mom (Patricia Williams), the kids (particularly Tanya) don’t help out too much around the house and the mother puts the breaks on Tanya’s plan to go traveling. Instead, Tanya has to stay home and help out with her siblings while the mom goes away on a trip.

Enter the infamous much older babysitter, Ms. Sturak (June Squibb), who is referred to in the film’s title. This babysitter is nasty and doesn’t tolerate any nonsense. When Tanya throws a party at the house while the babysitter is asleep, things get out of control. The babysitter thinks that Tanya had a church group over and witnesses the chaos at the party before dying an untimely death. The three kids have to figure out how to get rid of the body. After a failed attempt to keep the body in the fridge/freezer, they send her off in a car which goes underwater and, then, the kids are left to fend for themselves.

Anybody who has seen the original 1991 film knows the premise. Tanya will wind up going to work to take care of herself and her siblings. She starts out as a car driver whose passenger (Miles Fowler) ends up becoming her love interest. One of the funniest lines from the original is dropped into the new film as Tanya’s older brother, Kenny (Donielle T. Hensley Jr.) shoots the plates in the air and says “Dishes are done.” This is, of course, the alternative to washing the dirty dishes the family leaves behind.

The scenes in the workplace are the highlight of both the original and the remake. Tanya befriends the head of a fashion company named Rose (Nicole Richie in her best performance to date). Tanya’s brothers and sister help her get the job by lying about Tanya’s credentials. Pretty soon, Tanya is thriving in her new position with the help of a colleague who does her reports for her and who also just so happens to be related to the guy Tanya is dating.

When the kids secretly use the corporate credit card to buy extravagant extras (and food), Tanya gets worried. In the interim, Rose and Tanya form a bond as Tanya becomes Rose’s right-hand woman at the fashion company. This film is also a lesson in how hard it is to keep a family afloat while working a job and how difficult it is to take care of things on the home front as well. The scenes between Fowler and Jones have some genuine enjoyment value to them as well, thus the audience will feel the connection between these two characters.

Simone Joy Jones is delightful in the movie’s leading role and her scenes with Richie are straight up enjoyable all the way through the movie as the events of the picture lead Tanya to try to save the fashion company with some big ideas of her own. Richie brings some depth to her character who is in a relationship with a guy who cheats on her behind her back which Tanya soon discovers and, at first, she keeps it a secret from Rose.

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead was always a fine story to tell even if the execution in both films is far from perfect. This new version is choppy at times but it has a style of its own which makes it funny, entertaining and fast-paced. One can’t help but be charmed by both the lessons the movie teaches and the sheer entertainment value of it all. Though the picture isn’t 100 percent faithful to the original as it updates the story line a bit for its chosen characters and for modern times, it is pretty darn faithful to the Applegate version overall.

Nicole Richie plays her part so well opposite Jones that it’s a delight watching the pair on-screen together. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead teaches us that lying isn’t the best way to go about trying to make ends meet but it also makes the point that ambition counts for something. Fans of the original will enjoy the film and even newcomers to the material will find it pleasantly upbeat and just a good time.

Rating: 7/10

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