Dead [1987]

Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead aspires to be a cross between Home Alone and Risky Business, with Christina Applegate as an inadvertent scam artist who gets in over her head and somehow pulls it off. When her mother goes to Australia for two months, Sue Ellen (Applegate) thinks she's going to be in charge--until an elderly tyrant of a babysitter arrives. But on the very first night the old lady has a heart attack and keels over. Sue Ellen and her siblings leave the body at a mortuary, only to discover afterward that all the money their mother had left for the summer was in the babysitter's clothes. So Sue Ellen has to get a job. Thanks to a trumped-up resume, she ends up as an executive assistant at a clothing manufacturer. For a while she keeps her head above water by skillfully exploiting a friendly coworker, but her brothers and sisters are running amok at home and a venomous receptionist has it in for her at work. The role-reversal humor of Sue Ellen having to mother her siblings is unsurprising, but Applegate is unexpectedly appealing; her scenes with Josh Charles (Dead Poet's Society, Threesome) have a sweet chemistry. Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner, The Laughing Policeman) plays Sue Ellen's boss and a young David Duchovny (The X-Files, The Rapture) is a weaselly clerk. --Bret Fetzer

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