Friday, June 6, 2014

Movie Review #20: Adventures in Babysitting

Oh dear, I seem to have fallen off the blog horse. I blame Mario Kart 8. Forgive me?

Anyway, the second movie I watched while Cap was here was Adventures in Babysitting, an early outing from Chris Columbus, the guy who directed, among other things, the first two Harry Potter movies, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Home Alone.

In short, it was a fun film: a surprising, often hilarious amount of adventure from an evening of babysitting. The movie has apparently achieved cult status, and I can see why.


A teenaged girl is looking forward to a romantic evening with her boyfriend when he suddenly cancels, leaving her with nothing better to do than accept a babysitting job. Things get complicated when the girl's friend calls from a bus station an hour away, having stranded herself after a poorly-executed attempt at running away from home.

The girl is forced to load the kids up into her car and head into the city, where things just get weirder and weirder.


Are babysitters even a thing anymore? I remember when babysitting was a cultural institution: there were neighborhood girls that you could rely on to watch your kids when you need to go out. My sister used to do it all the time. Heck, I spent a summer babysitting, but it was for family.

Anyway, I'm not sure if that's still the cultural institution it used to be. Gone are the days of the Babysitters' Club, unless I'm just disconnected from the child-raising scene, being a childless adult myself.

Anyway, the movie doesn't seem to have a specific message, just a series of adventures which were enough to make the movie fun to watch.

Each time the movie seems to be settling into something predictable, it immediately takes a huge left-turn into the absurd. Rather than seeming unnecessary or random, these left turns take these otherwise boring, vanilla white kids (except for the little girl and her adorable fascination with Thor) and puts the to the test against the weirdness of Chicago.

Each of the kids are distinct: the little Thor-loving girl is naive, but adventurous. Her older brother is infatuated with the babysitter, and though it seems like the movie is going to bring him together with the babysitter through his demonstrations of bravery and honor, instead he eventually learns that maybe it's okay that they just be friends (a rare lesson for a guy to learn in movies). The boy's friend is clearly a future date rapist, though, so there's some give and take there.

Particularly impressive is that this is a movie with a strong female lead, which seems a bit weird even now, nevermind the 80s. It's not focused on her relationship with a guy, though it does come up: she dumps the one guy when she discovers him with another woman, and eventually finds another, more charming guy who shows up briefly to help. In a neat reverse on the more common trope, the guys in this movie are mere objects for the female main character's growth.

Anyway, it's a fun movie. I recommend giving it a shot if you want something light and fun to watch.

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