Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

Movie Reviews 357 – Point Blank (1967)

August 10, 2018

The mysteries pile up quickly in director’s Point Blank based on the novel The Hunter by Donald Westlake. As a late night heist unfolds at vacated Alcatraz prison, we’re not sure what is being stolen, why and from who. We also don’t know much about the thieves, a man named Walker (Lee Marvin), a woman, and their accomplice named Mal Reese (John Vernon). More questions pile up as Reese counts the take and deems it insufficient for his needs forcing him to double-cross Walker. Which he does by shooting him. Point Blank.

With the help of a man named Yost (Keenan Wynn) Walker not only survives but recovers fully and now wants what was coming to him – the $93,000 that was his share of the take – and Reese. Both become an obsession and nothing will stand in his way which ends up translating to a lot of dead bodies.

It begins with the woman who was with the men the night of the heist. Walker’s wife who he learns not only sided with Reese but who she later fled with him to Los Angeles. But when he confronts her at Reese’s house he learns that Mal has already left her and while Walker can’t muster the courage to kill her she obligingly does the job for him.

Walker then follows a trail of clues and people as he deconstructs ‘the organization’, a crime syndicate that was the target that ill fated night and one that Reese now works for. With the aid of his sister-in-law (Angie Dickinson) and the mysterious Yost, Walker escalates the tiers of the organization getting ever closer to his money … and Mal.

This movie is a treat in many ways. Marvin is in top teeth gnashing, tough as nails form as he goes through maniacal phases that have him pumping lead into a empty bed and terrorizing a car salesman during a test drive. The mysterious organization is peeled back one layer at a time with many surprises along the way including a decent twist ending. It was enjoyable seeing Carroll O’Connor in a serious (well almost) role and genre fans should keep an eye out for Sid Haig in a “blink and you’ll miss him” role.

One other star in this film is Alcatraz prison, now more affectionately known simply as “the Rock”. While it has been featured in many movies since, according to the DVD special features this was the first movie made at the infamous island penitentiary so it was a big deal at the time.

Point Blank is one of those great sixties thrillers that never got the respect it deserves but is yet another film that showcased the talent of Marvin and the immense presence he always had. There is one great scene in which Marvin is filmed simply walking down a long corridor, energetically stomping every step of the extended shot. He doesn’t say anything or interact in a way but it expresses the unflinching determination of his character as much as any other scene.

Watch this one. Near, far or at point blank range.


Movie Reviews 356 – The Legacy (1978)

August 3, 2018

When Margaret (Katherine Ross), an interior designer gets a generous unsolicited request for a job in the English countryside, she must first persuade her partner Pete (Sam Elliott) to go. With some reluctance lingering he concedes after she suggests it as vacation opportunity and the couple soon find themselves blissfully riding a motorcycle across lush green back roads. But their carefree ride soon comes to a crashing end as they careen into a luxurious Rolls Royce. Lucky for them the occupant of the car not only promises to have the local mechanic repair their cycle but invites also them to rest at his place while they wait for the repairs.

Their first surprise is the enormous Victorian estate their rescuer, Jason Mountolive (John Standing) occupies with a large entourage of housekeepers. This includes a white habit nurse who just as soon informs them that their visit is expected to be an extended one as the cycle repairs are not expected to be completed as quick as they were led to believe. As they settle into their luxurious room Pete spies the sudden arrival of an odd array disparate individuals. They soon learn that Jason, vibrant and full of energy just earlier in the day is now at death’s door and about to bestow his possessions to one of the visitors, and shockingly that includes Margaret who was purposefully mislead into coming. But the dispensation is not simply a matter of divvying up possessions. The main handout is only to be received by one of the visitors and as the bodies mount it becomes clear that Margaret is about to inherit more than anyone could have imagined.

This movie is an entry from what I call the Satanic Seventies touched off by the success of earlier movies like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist and while it does have an interesting premise it isn’t remotely as good as any of them. One part that was frustrating was the lack of context regarding the other visitors awaiting Jason’s death. We eventually learn that they do share one common attribute but we don’t know how and why they all knew of each other before they arrived and yet Margaret, ostensibly part of the group, knew nothing about them or the reason they were assembled.

As for the group itself – one member being notably played by rocker Roger Daltrey of The Who, but Who should have stuck to vocals given his performance here – only the barest of information is given to their backgrounds despite some intriguing bits and clues. A missed opportunity to expand on their backstories especially since it was relevant to the plot and seemed to be more interesting than the path the story was taking. This was particularly surprising as the movie was based on a story and script by veteran Jimmy Sangster, an early Hammer films scribe, who has delivered much better than this. And while I’m in my rant phase I have to mention the ghastly inappropriate music score that really does not fit the mood at any point and the dreadful Kiki Dee theme song that inexplicably got top billing in the opening credits.

But there are some good points to the film. I was most impressed by the fabulous Gothic mansion and the abundant array of Victorian exotic art, Baroque paintings and portraits as well as the architecture itself. The portraits fill every inch of wall space and one I immediately noticed was the familiar Mary Shelley image – a clever hidden nod to the author of Frankenstein. I suspect that closer inspection of the many other faces would reveal other horror luminaries. And the lavish decor of a mansion would not be complete without a few hidden passages between the nooks and crannies used to good effect in the film.

While the film makers missed the boat on the characterization of the visitors they were much more successful with the commanding nurse and hints that her true lineage of which I won’t say more other than to take a close look at the movie poster. As for the horror, this one presents a mixed bag. Some of the carnage is quite shocking and surprising, but some of the butchery comes out of nowhere and are done before you can fully absorb them, especially since the characters themselves don’t seem to give them much thought.

In the end this Legacy is not befitting it’s title and I would only recommend it to those horror fans that are completists.

Movie Reviews 355 – Angel Heart (1987)

July 27, 2018

Robert De Niro has always been one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood with roles ranging from roguish mobsters, punch drunk boxers, power hungry revolutionaries and surprisingly even in comedic portrayals. But when he took on the role of The Devil in Angel Heart it turned a lot of heads. But ever the trendsetter, DeNiro’s lord of darkness is not any red horned caricature but an immaculately attired and dignified Satan with a slick haircut and even sporting my earliest recollection of a “man bun”. Yes, this movie is different in many ways.

Beginning in post WWII New York, De Niro as Louis Cyphre (get it?) hires private eye Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) to determine the status a man named Johnny Favorite. Cypher explains to the disheveled looking Angel that Johnny, a one time singer but later war veteran who returned with post traumatic stress and is reputedly being held in a mental institution. But Cyphre has his doubts and explains that he has some outstanding business dealings with Favorite and would like Angel to substantiate Favorite’s institutionalized status. Sure enough Harry discovers that records have been falsified and with great reluctance ends up following a trail that includes a fiancee (Charlotte Rampling), a mistress and her daughter (Lisa Bonet), and former band members all of which Harry encounter in New Orleans.

This “gumshoe-horror” – for lack of a better description – is both a mystery in the traditional sense, while the horror elements are more those of human failings than supernatural ones with just a touch of voodoo rituals. But there is a distinct trail of bodies along Harry’s journey for the truth and the truth is the twist ending.

This movie was criticized more for the scenes of Lisa Bonet – a member of America’s idyllic TV family at the time for her role as one of the kids in The Cosby Show – exposing herself in a few shots and one particular racy sex scene than any of the horror gore. There is also a lot of symbolism, some obvious and others not so much – I could never figure out why but there are fans, big, small, rotating, stationary, every few minutes. And there are plenty of chickens as constantly being pointed out as one of Harry’s phobias and the voodoo offerings.

All of these bizarre elements make Angel Heart stand out as an unusual film that I would classify as ‘must see’ by any cinefile no matter your genre of preference.

Movie Reviews 354 – Rat (2000)

July 20, 2018

I’ve always loved a good rat movie. Already as a young kid I was captivated by the original trailers for the movies Willard and it’s sequel Ben and could not wait to watch them – which took years and the advent of cable TV. Then there was Of Unknown Origin which I stumbled upon only a few years ago and Rats: Night of Terror which was an even more recent rodent revelation. But those are all horror movies and when it comes to lighter family fair the likes of Stuart Little and the animation Ratatouille, the 2000 Irish comedy Rat stands out as an oddity that fits somewhere in between conventional films.

When Hubert (Pete Postlethwaite) the Guiness beer loving father of a dysfunctional family comes home from the local pub late one night and transforms in a scrubbly white rat, the entire family find themselves in a predicament that even wife Conchita’s (Imelda Staunton) know-it-all brother Matt (Frank Kelly) is at a loss as to solve. But when intrepid freelance reporter Phelim (David Wilmot) manages to get Conchita’s attention – and a little piece of her heart- with the promise of a book and dreams of a follow up film – the family embarks on an adventure that includes an excursion to the local pub, noisy neighbors and some very odd choices trying to take care of poor Hubert.

At least they decided not to kill him at the protestations of daughter Marietta (Kerry Condon) who seems to be the only one who really cares about Hubert. The suggestion to kill Hubert comes from son Pius, destined to join the clergy no less, and the one who raises the suggestion of euthanasia with Hubert’s every errant move.

The burning question posed by the movie is “Who are the real vermin?” and it certainly isn’t Hubert. This comedy and sometimes thinly disguised promotional piece for Guiness (it is Ireland after all) contains some fairly hilarious moments and a few good running gags but there are a few dry spots as well. Fans of Staunton who deservingly got an Oscar nomination for Vera Drake will revel in her range as she clearly steals the show. Well except for some of the live action and animatronic rat sequences provided by the “Muppet” Jim Henson company.

So is it a film worth watching? I find the film is much like the Guiness beer it espouses. It’s an acquired taste. And just like a fine Guiness it is one I myself am fond off.  If you happen to have the DVD check out the “live rat auditions” provided as a special feature. I’m not kidding.

Full disclosure, I had a Guinness while writing this review but I swear I was not unduly influenced.


Movie Reviews 353 – Infestation (2009)

July 13, 2018

Last week we endured a sweltering heat wave and to take my mind off that I sheltered myself into my nice and cool basement and watched Infestation so that my worries could switch from anxiety of global warming to global swarming. This post apocalyptic bug invasion movie does not start out in the traditional manner. Instead of taking a linear storytelling approach we begin with the camera panning over an office environment where cobwebs are strung across desks and walls and then cocooned bodies are revealed strewn across the floor. And then one of the bodies twitches…

As flashbacks we learn that Cooper (Chris Marquette) is a young undisciplined office goofball working in a telemarketing firm – largely thanks to his dad (Ray Wise) – whose lax work ethics and office hijinxs had caught up to him. It was just as he was getting fired that a high pitched sound had everyone blackout. Inexplicably awaking while others cocooned lay dormant, Cooper soon frees up some of his colleagues while running into a few giant, man-sized beetles still scurrying around the office. With communications all down, everyone else within the city encased and with wasp-like bugs plucking people off the streets, Cooper becomes the de-facto leader with a plan to head out to his father’s house and the safety of the Cold War era bomb shelter there.

The group includes an assortment from the firm as well as others who were in the area at the time of the blackout including Sara (Brooke Nevin), one of Cooper’s old highschool colleagues and the daughter of Cooper’s boss, who was plucked into the sky by one of the wasp creatures. While stopping over a few homes of family of those in the group they discern the fate of those unlucky enough to be stung by the bugs and also come across a vast mound structure the bugs are building. And when Sara decides to go there in the hopes of finding her mom, Cooper rallies the gang to help out.

Ray Wise steals the show as the Alpha, take charge, half nuts father while Cooper finally shows some backbone, standing up to Ray (sorta) and bravely faces the bugs to help Sara. The horror comedy is pure CGI, some of it decent, some of it ‘cookie cutter’, but the film does give new meaning to the term “spider-man”.

While I kind of enjoyed it, this movie is not for everyone. A lot is just not explained and not investigated by the survivors. They do find out one quirk about the bugs but in the end the tired thread of a group having to ‘go across town’ is just too predictable.

What really degrades the film to substandard fare is the idiotic and infuriating non-closure ending. While I suspect that a sequel was in mind which may account for part of it I’d say that even that excuse only goes so far and you have to deliver some sort of ending. In this case the final credits start rolling mid action and leaves viewers agape.

There are better bug movies and better horror comedies than this one. Watch it only if you find yourself in a bug infested post-apocalyptic situation and don’t have your copy of Alien Apocalypse handy.

Movie Reviews 352 – A Sound of Thunder (2005)

July 6, 2018

With the possible exception of Fahrenheit 451, the one other story of author Ray Bradbury’s vast creative oeuvre that is universally known is A Sound of Thunder, or more accurately the central point of the story itself more than the title. So well known is the concept of time travellers going back to when dinosaurs ruled the Earth only to change history with the seemingly innocuous act of accidentally killing one butterfly that the term Butterfly Effect has been coined by chaos theoreticians. And if that isn’t enough of an accolade then the fact that has been parodied on The Simpsons surely cemented its relevance long before they made this movie.

It’s pretty hard to live up to the classics and this is another example of an adaptation that should have never seen light. Sticking fairly close (at least at first)  to the main elements of the original in which a corporation offers time travel excursions, with strict restrictions not to disrupt the past, even the venerable Ben Kingsley as the rich entrepreneur running the time travel venture could not save this film.

Instead of simply offering extinct species hunting expeditions the film plot has vacationers hunt one specific Allosaurus, destined to die anyway, over and over by each successive group of hunters, with second timing precision. Except on one such visit something goes wrong and the returning party is faced with a slightly altered future. But this is when the silliness used to pad the script to a feature length kicks in and destroys the simple, near perfect, original story.

The revisionist history begins with noticeable rapid plant growth, then increased volcanic activity, then… well just use your imagination as it is sure to be better than the raptor-baboons and other idiotic bits filmed. Not content with a single change in time, this version has time-ripple waves coming at predetermined intervals to add ever more dramatic points to the film, and equally numbered subtraction of IQ points from plot viability. The science fiction genre setting that made the original story so great was that it had a believability factor, however improbable it was. But this movie, starting on the right track (and the original source) dissolves with nonsensical added plot elements and even dumber action sequences.

Adding insult to injury is the abundant use of sub-par CGI and futuristic cityscapes that would be at home on the Cartoon Network or 1980’s music videos. Reading a bit more on the production notes of this film those deficiencies may have been a victim of the turmoil and multiple creative talent changes during production.

The film’s tagline is “Some rules should never be broken”. In that same vein,some movies should never be made. I wish that I too could go back in time and alter history so that I could get back the hour and forty-one minutes of my life spent watching this cheap imitation of a cherished classic.

Oh, look. A butterfly…

Movie Reviews 351 – Piranha (1978)

June 30, 2018

The huge success of Jaws in 1975 generated a flock of imitation shark movies jumping out of the waters as producers scrambled to cash in on the wave. This included the king of the B movies himself, Roger Corman taking a dip. But Corman was smart enough to see that the competition where simply putting a shark or two into their mediocre offerings and instead of merely being another pale imitator he wanted to retain the aquatic threat and the cuspid edge while dropping the iconic dorsal. The solution: Piranhas!

When a couple of teenagers stumble upon a seemingly abandoned military research facility and take a midnight dip into the pool they find out the hard way that the pool isn’t exactly empty. Their sudden unexplained disappearance has Maggie (Heather Menzies) scouring the area where she meets Paul (Bradford Dillman) hiding as best he can from civilization in his booze stocked isolated cabin. The two make their way to the discarded facility where they run into crazed old researcher Doctor Hoak (Kevin McCarthy) but not before accidentally draining the pool into the local river.

Hoak explains how the Vietnam era facility once worked on project ‘Razor-Teeth’ creating mutant piranhas intended to help the war effort. Once it was abandoned Hoak stayed on to continue the research himself while keeping an eye on the now frenzied ravenous piranhas. As the trio realize the fish are now making their way downstream they race to close a dam before the school enters human populated areas. Maggie and Paul manage to close the dam only to be rounded up by a military unit that includes a veteran colleague of Hoak’s (Barbara Steele) but their captors don’t even believe the piranha are still alive. But not only are they still swimming, but they are headed straight for a resort about to open to the public.

While the plot differs as much as the actual threat there are still many sequences and even characters that mirror those in Jaws. Aside from the obvious movie poster design rip-off, many characters shrugging off the threat despite people going missing and a chronology that pits the menace about to have a feast with a holiday start, the resort owner (Dick Miler) is even a dead giveaway for actor Murray Hamilton who played the equally obstinate mayor Vaughn in Jaws.

This was director Joe Dante’s first solo feature which he also painstakingly edited to great effect. Despite the low budget and some clear shortcuts taken for the some of the special effects, the production had the luxury of having master craftsman Phil Tippett and the then up and coming prosthetics genius Rob Bottin working the piranha sequences. You just have to see the gyrating masses of piranhas frantically gorging and ripping everything in their path. If you have the Shout Factory DVD be sure to check out the extras where we get even more impressive views of the fierce piranhas.

One thing that bothered me was seeing some very cool looking, weird miniature stop motion creatures shown in early sequences that were never fully explained or revisited later in the film. That and some actors annoyingly calling the fish Pee-ran-hee-ah. (What’s up with that?).

If you want a more polished look I recommend Alexandre Aja’s remake Piranha 3D. But if you want a good old-school Corman treat, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Movie Reviews 350 – Dial M for Murder (1954)

June 22, 2018

After bringing up what was arguably actor Ray Milland‘s worst cinematic achievement, the fun but highly undignified The Thing With Two Heads I felt somewhat obligated to remind everyone that he was once one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. And what better way to do that than to review what may have been his best performance, that of the scheming husband in Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder.

Based on a brilliant stage, the mystery can be broken down as distinct acts that could be titled as The illicit lovers, The murder plan, The failed execution, The cover up and The unraveling.

The film first introduces us to the Wendices, a respectful and refined social couple discussing day to day musings at the breakfast table. As Tony Wendice (Milland) sips his coffee his wife Margot (Grace Kelly) notices that a particular famed writer will soon be arriving on a transcontinental ocean liner. Peeling back that first layer of respectability, we learn that the writer, Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) long ago had an affair with Margot. An affair that he hopes to rekindle. As Margot rebuffs his intentions she confesses that she once considered leaving Tony for Mark. But when evidence of their affair, an old confessional letter was once lost and nearly came to Tony’s attention, she decided to reaffirmed her faithfulness to her husband.

The second act then reveals Tony’s own darker side as he goes to great lengths to blackmail a former acquaintance to murder Margot. It all started with the letter and since that time he has realized that he would be destitute without Margot and has been scheming ever since. So meticulous has been his planning that he explains exactly how and when the murder is to proceed which will give him an ironclad alibi. And all his planning nearly work except for one minute detail …

Part of the fun is following all the artifacts that come into play for the setup and execution of the dastardly plan. Keys, letters, photos, and a myriad of other details. The audience is convinced that the plan seems foolproof, and yet when it does come apart we are just as entertained by how Tony determinedly hangs in and covers up his involvement, one fact at a time. So successful is he with his cover up that he attains his original goal as a result of the spin he puts on events on the evidence despite the failure of his original plan.

At first, the foiled crime seems cut and dry to the police. But both Halliday, being a crime fiction writer and one especially tenacious chief inspector (John Williams) keep Tony on his toes. And the cleverest part is the ultimate test that Tony is challenged with while not even knowing he is under a microscope.

I thought that the camera movements were particularly interesting as it to follows pivotal objects of interest to the crime but I later learned that this movie was actually filmed in early 3D technology which I suspect may have had an impact on some of those framing choices. But cinematics aside, the movie presents an intricate puzzle during each act.

A great murder mystery at the hands of the master Hitchcock and a redemptive portrayal for Milland should you ever believe that he was never an A-list thespian.

Movie Reviews 349 – Last House on the Left (1972)

June 15, 2018

I finally got around to watching Wes Craven‘s classic Last House on the Left, a film with a both a notorious reputation while at the same time being an acknowledged groundbreaking movie that tested the limits of morality and propriety in horror. It is a movie that embraced the sexual revolution of the era but then turns that freedom around to show how that latitude can be exploited by the darker side of society.

Celebrating her seventeenth birthday Mari (Sandra Peabody) and her friend Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) take in a concert in the city. Trying to score some weed before the concert they approach Junior (Marc Sheffler) in front of an apartment building. Little do they realise that Junior is the son of prison escapee Krug (David A. Hess) and that within the apartment Krug along with fellow escapee Fred “Weasel” (Fred Lincoln) and their female companion Sadie (Jeramie Rain) have set up a trap for the girls. After having their way with their victims that night, the gang, girls in tow, head out of town to keep ahead of the authorities concentrated in the city.

Mari’s parents living in their rural home are not immediately worried as they are quite liberal themselves, but when she fails to come home by the next morning they decide to call the local cops who turn out to be bumbling fools and simply deride the parents concerns. As it so happens, the gang’s car has broken down just yards away from Mari’s parent’s house. After dragging the girls into the nearby woods and inflicting yet more sadistic carnal torture, they kill Phyllis in their unbridled enthusiasm and needing to dispose of witnesses shoot Mari who is already in a near catatonic state.

Still stranded the gang are then welcomed by Mari’s unaware parents into their home for the night. It isn’t until the next day when Mari’s mother is tipped off by clues that the visitors have been up to some bloody foul play with her daughter that Mari’s father comes across his dying daughter. Enraged the parents decide that they will enact their own revenge. A meticulously planned bloody comeuppance rivaling that of what was done to the girls.

To fully understand this film and some of the elements it contains, one has to comprehend the nature of it’s beginning. Craven and producer Sean S. Cunningham were initially contracted to deliver a porn flick and while that quickly developed into the psychological horror it became, many remnants of that salacious seed remain in the final product delivered. This is not limited to some scenes and dialogue passages, the very first scene being once in which Mari and her parents discuss her boobs, but also includes cast members who were recruited from the adult film industry. As Craven and Cunningham had no real filmmaking experience a lot of the production was done on the fly which was essentially cinema vérité which coincidentally worked in the films favor. But the low budget is also evident with flaws such as some grainy and even often out of focus footage.

I must admit that I was surprised to learn that Craven was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring which has many similar (if not outright copied) passages and that this was not as original a plot as I thought. But the horror is pure Craven at his inventive best, preceding the equally (more?) horrific rape revenge I Spit On Your Grave. It should be noted that the muscle bound Hess also wrote the music score.and had a venerable career as a musician and songwriter. I did see the 2009 remake and thought it was quite good. That version of Last House on the Left tinkered with a few things in the plot but kept the essentials intact.

The catchy slogan for the film was the repetitive line “It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie…”. But what a movie!

Movie Reviews 348 – Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991)

June 9, 2018

When a single mom decides it’s high time she went on a solo outback vacation her kids thought that they would be in party mode while she’s gone.This was especially true for the eldest, Sue Ellen (Christina Applegate), about to leave high school and trying to figure out what path to follow in life. But just as mom is about to leave the kids get the shock of their lives when a surprise geriatric babysitter arrives to spoil their plans. Bad goes to worse the minute mom departs when the babysitter takes the gloves off and turns into a drill sergeant ordering the kids to chores with Nazi efficiency while she lounges.

But when the babysitter suddenly dies of a heart attack the kids are faced with a tough decision. Not wanting to dash their mother’s one chance at a well earned respite – not to mention their own plans for unsupervised fun – they creatively, but respectfully dispose of the sitter’s body. And in doing so inadvertently also tossed out the funds for food and entertainment their mom left behind.

When Sue Ellen realises the family’s penniless status she accepts the notion that she will have to find a job and believes it to be a minor setback figuring that she would easy find a cushy position in a firm that will take advantage of her fashion savvy. But reality soon sets in. After a short stint slopping swill at “Clown Dog” where she meets Gus (John Getz), another entrepreneurial kid working his way through college, her hopes are raised when she spots an ad for receptionist at a garment company. But through a series of white lies she unexpectedly ends up being the administrative assistant to Rose (Joanna Cassidy) who runs the division. This does not sit well with the current hostile and suspicious receptionist Carolyn that was pegged to get the job (Jayne Brook).

It quickly becomes a balancing act that includes creative ways to get her job done, stave off Rose’s boyfriend, keeping Carolyn at bay while developing her relationship with Gus. To make matters worse, Sue Ellen has been dipping into petty cash to keep the family afloat only to learn that her siblings have also discovered ‘petty cash’ while slacking at the few duties she has given them. All these complications come to an intersection when a clothing line fails to sell and Sue Ellen tries to save Rose, the company, and the family at an event she stages in her own home … only to have mom come home early.

Given all the talent (that includes future Scream Queen Danielle Harris and future X-Filer David Duchovny) and a decent story one could assume that this would be one of the better comedies of the era. But coming as a cross between Weekend at Bernie’s and Working Girl, with a coming-of-age premise for good measure it underperforms pretty much in every category. The comedy is mostly flat as are most of the characters. The title is misleading in that the death of the sitter is dealt with rather swiftly and is only tangentially tied in with the events that follow. Even for a comedy there is so little plausibility in all the schemes that it manages to detract and distract.

This movie has pulse as that of the dead babysitter. And you can tell that to mom.