Adventures in Babysitting. 1987
Cast: Elizabeth Shue, Keith Coogen, Penelope Ann Miller
Writer: David Simkins
Director: Chris Columbus
When I was a kid I remember this being a fun light-hearted family feature. After watching it again, it remains very sweet natured and fun, but I forgot about how dark and violent this movie can get. The film also has some scenes that today may appear to be racist and homophobic. It’s a movie clearly written by white people who don’t have a clue about other races or cultures outside their own suburban homes that it becomes kind of sad , but also part of its weird charm. “Adventures in Babysitting” is not as squeaky clean as you thought it would be but at the same time it can very heartwarming and charming especially when most of it comes from lead actress Elizabeth Shue.
Chris(Shue) has a night planned with her boyfriend that backfires because he says his kid sister is sick. The way he avoids kissing her or the fact he doesn’t invite her over would be a cause of concern, but hey she is only 17. There is no way she could have picked up on that. With nothing else to do she decides to baby sit for two kids. Sara (Maia Brewton) a Thor obsessed, roller skating, hyper child and Brad(Keith Coogan). A love-sick teen who is infatuated with the babysitter. It seems like this would be a real dull night until Chris gets a call from her friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) saying that she has run away and needs for someone to pick her up because she is stuck at a bus station downtown. Not wanting to leave the kids by themselves, Chris takes both Sara, Brad, and Daryl (Anthony Rapp). Brad’s friend who scams his way into going by blackmailing Chris, all into the city and that’s when problems begin to happen.
Apparently the guy who wrote who wrote this must have been mugged once because he views city life the same way John Carpenter did with “Escape from New York” All the exteriors are very dirty and wet, and all the interior shots are mostly dim. There is not a lot of bright colors in this movie. Also anyone who is not from the suburbs is shown to be somewhat scary. This includes blacks, Italians,people with beards,ect. These kids are so skittish around other races they get scared when they accidentally walk in on a blues concert at an all black club. That moment where Chris sings her babysitting blues with the band is indeed kind of charming, I just doubt that every single audience member would be that much into her song, but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief for a while. The moments with Brenda at the bus stop were just sad and not one bit funny. She was more of a nutcase then the homeless people she was so afraid of.
I said it before that Elizabeth Shue is good in this and she is. She is very charming and is very believable as this character who gets stuck in these unrealistic situations. After watching this again I felt kind of bad for Brad. The guy had his heart-broken by seeing the girl he loves get all starry-eyed at the first guy who pays her a compliment and is dressed nice. Meanwhile his friend Daryl has been kind of an asshole the whole time and he gets to make out with an older woman. When I first watched this in theatres I was near the same age as Sara so I just loved going on this wild adventure. Watching it again recently I’m more surprised at what they were able to get away with more then anything else.
My favorite moment in the movie.
This was director Chris Columbus‘(“Home Alone“, The first two “Harry Potter” films) debut movie and it’s very different from the usual ones he does. It’s interesting to see how much filmmakers change their style throughout the years and how much they keep things the same. Looking back on this, one can see how he keeps a lot of the heartwarming aspects the same, but he does not do anything edgy like this again. “Adventures in Babysitting” is a good movie because it’s a bit more risqué then you may remember.