‘Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead’ Review: Can BET+ Top the Cult Classic Teen Comedy? | Trending Viral hub


“Why are you tripping? We had no supervision for months. Finna we will live like white kids,” says one of the teens on BET+. Don’t tell mom that the babysitter is dead.

This Tyra Banks-produced remake of the 1991 cult classic of the same name offers a repositioning of the black cast of the suburban coming-of-age teen comedy that has prototypically been the domain of precocious white characters. Although director Wade Allain-Marcus (adult) diligently attempts to keep the beats of the original narrative intact, it is also reframing parts of the film through a contemporary racial sociopolitical lens. It’s an admirable attempt to not take the easy way out, but ultimately the film needed to be more radically different than its predecessor.

Don’t tell mom that the babysitter is dead It’s the kind of remake that wants to have its cake and eat it too, leaving the viewer terribly undernourished.

That Don’t tell mom that the babysitter is dead about?

June Squibb plays the atrocious and hilarious Mrs. Shrak.

June Squibb plays the atrocious and hilarious Mrs. Shrak.
Credit: BET+

Tanya Crandell, high school senior and oldest of four siblings (Bel Air‘s Simone Joy Jones) plans to travel to Valencia, Spain, with her friends over the summer before beginning her fashion education at Howard University. Her dreams are dashed when her exhausted mother (Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams) leaves for a mandatory yoga retreat in Thailand. The determined Tanya believes she will have to take care of her eccentric siblings: her stoner older brother, Kenny (Donielle Tremaine Hansley); her nerdy younger brother, Zach (Carter Young); and her goth younger sister, Melissa (Ayaamii Sledge). But, to her dismay, an elderly nanny, Mrs. Shrak (telma‘s June Squibb) – is hired.

Squibb is a burst of energy as the racist grandmother figure, cracking outlandish jokes like “Makeup is for fucking geishas,” “Surprises are for children’s parties and for the Japanese,” and “Hip-hop ruined black people.” . Squibb is so good in this role that one wishes the film didn’t live up to the promise of its premise. Unfortunately, that’s how it is. The morning after a late-night party hosted by Tanya and Kenny, the children discover Mrs. Shrak’s lifeless body. They get rid of it without much trouble. Your most important task is to figure out how to earn enough money to buy food. Initially, Tanya takes a rideshare job, which leads to a meet-cute with hopeful architecture student Bryan (Money Miles Fowler).

Of course, shared ride alone isn’t going to pay the bills (it’s one of the film’s many nods to the ills of the modern economy). Using a resume drawn up by Melissa, 17-year-old Tanya applies to be a receptionist at Libra, a monochromatic clothing line that values ​​the balance between beauty and practicality. Tanya’s exceptional and fabricated work history is enough to catch the attention of company executive Rose Lindsey (Nicole Richie). Tanya becomes her assistant, forcing the teenager to abruptly confront the demands of adulthood.

The kids are fine Don’t tell mom that the babysitter is dead.

Simone Joy Jones and Donielle Tremaine Hansley as Tanya and Kenny.

Simone Joy Jones and Donielle Tremaine Hansley as Tanya and Kenny.
Credit: BET+

Unlike the 1991 version, Allain-Marcus is not entirely interested in the dynamics of the corporate workplace. Rose’s boyfriend, Gus (The blackeningyes Jermaine Fowler), for example, a lecherous demon who preyed on Christina Applegate’s underage character in the previous film, does not have the same carnal desires for Tanya. In this version, he is simply a hapless womanizing fool. Carolina (We areIantha Richardson), Tanya’s rival in the office, is also not an imposing threat.

Screenwriter Chuck Hayward’s script avoids any interest in examining the power imbalance in Gus and Rose’s interracial relationship. Likewise, he ignores the fact that Rose often characterizes Caroline, a black woman, as overly aggressive. These underdevelopments are strange detours for a comedy that attempts to jokingly reference sweatshops, Onlyfans, and other disparities in the gig economy.

Instead, Allain-Marcus is much more interested in the frigid interpersonal dynamics of this family. Kenny, for example, is not a total stoner, as he was in the original. Before his father died, he was on the lacrosse team. He now smokes marijuana and uses grills. But there is a talented and thoughtful child there. Falling into the trap of wanting to broadly represent Black Excellence, Allain-Marcus is not content to characterize Kenny as someone who is not doing well. Rather, Kenny’s arc shows a rebellious boy returning to normalcy and respectability. By accepting responsibility, he and Tanya become closer as brother and sister. That angle draws attention away from many of the film’s other threads, making them seem weak. And while Jones and Hansley perform admirably, working through a quiet dynamic that generates a few laughs, Allain-Marcus doesn’t do enough to make them characters in their own right; Instead, they are figures that represent his focus on aspects of style, post-soul freshness, and black excellence.

Don’t tell mom that the babysitter is dead requires supervision.

Nicole Richie as Rose

Nicole Richie as Rose
Credit: BET+

The coming-of-age comedy ends up so-so, mainly because the first film’s narrative beats are inherently strong. We want to see Tanya succeed in her career. We want to see her fool these nefarious adults. We want to see her find love.

This version attempts to maintain those components while adding new beats, such as Tanya learning to be a better sister to her brothers. In trying to balance both goals, the themes are woefully stretched. Even the relationship between Bryan and Tanya is supported. The economic tension of the previous film, with Applegate as an executive and Josh Charles aimlessly working at the Clown Dog fast-food restaurant, evaporates, as Bryan is now a motivated architecture student. The same goes for the tension of Bryan being Caroline’s younger brother, which becomes lax due to the now toothless rivalry between Caroline and Tanya.

There’s simply a more efficient way to tell this story that already exists, and it was made in 1991. The wrinkles added in the remake do little to bring this cult classic closer to a younger audience, to the point that you wish Allain-Marcus would show even less. fidelity to the original and removed characters he never intended to use, such as Gus and Caroline. Considering how strong Squibb is here, you also wish he’d stick around longer so the film could play up the third-rail comedy he was offering.

In the end, this new version of the cult comedy seems too safe. From her macabre but crazy incident to the end of the fashion show, Don’t tell mom that the babysitter is dead It feels more suited to nostalgic adults than defiant teenagers.

Don’t tell mom that the babysitter is dead opens in theaters on April 12.


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