Vada Sultenfuss is obsessed with death. Her mother is dead, and her father runs a funeral parlor. She is also in love with her English teacher, and joins a poetry class over the summer just to impress him. Thomas J., her best friend, is “allergic to everything”, and sticks with Vada despite her hangups. When Vada’s father hires Shelly, a makeup expert, in his funeral parlor, and begins to fall in love with her, Vada is outraged and does everything in her power to split them up.
Young Anna Chlumsky gives a fine performance in this drama/comedy which deals with the topic of death. She plays Vada Sultenfuss, whose mother died a few days after Vada’s birth, and now the eleven year old hangs out mainly with her best friend Thomas, played by Macaulay Culkin. Vada’s father, a mortician (Dan Aykroyd), is a sad man who spends little time with his daughter. Then Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis) is hired to do make-up for the deceased, and Vada’s father begins to liven up again as he develops a relationship with her.
This film does include some important themes regarding young love and healing after grief, and an early 70’s joke since this is the period in which this story takes place. Young Vada and her friend Thomas decide to run away from home, and Vada says she is going to go join the Brady Bunch, and young Thomas will have to go join the Partridge Family. During this film we see young Vada begin to grow up. Unfortunately, an unexpected death will either drive her back into her previous loneliness, or give her the strength to tell the ones she loves that she cares about them. We award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this film for ages twelve and above.