The Babysitting Blues
I don't know whether it was intentional but "Adventures in Babysitting" feels like it's taken a bit of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and a bit of "Risky Business" as well as bits from a few other 80s teen movies and combined them into one movie. But rather than feeling like a jumbled mess "Adventures in Babysitting" is a fun, often stupid and just as often outrageous teen comedy that doesn't pretend to be anything other than a madcap adventure fuelled by a chain of strange events. And whilst the fashions may date it, it is just as entertaining now as it was when released 25 years ago back in 1987.
After her boyfriend (Bradley Whitford) Mike cancels their date, Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue - The Karate Kid) finds herself facing a mundane night babysitting for the Anderson's. But a mundane night is not what she gets when her friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller - Chaplin) phones up in trouble in the city and in need of Chris to go and get her. With Sara (Maia Brewton) and Brad Anderson (Keith Coogan) and their friend Dylan (Anthony Rapp) in tow Chris drives in to the city, but a blow out leads to a crazy string of events which has them on the run from some car stealing heavies and in need of money to get the car repaired in the desperate hope that they can get back home before Mr. & Mrs. Anderson return.
"Adventures in Babysitting" is basically your classic farce the sort where one mishap leads to another and before you know it we have a group of people in a big mess and inevitably being chased by some angry bad guys. As such there is that obvious element to it because you know two things, one it will get crazier and crazier but by the end things will be sorted out, just in the nick of time. So whilst we have the escapades of Chris and the children as she ends up taking them into the city you know that she will make it back with the children just in time before their parents get home, it's no shock.
It's no shock because "Adventures in Babysitting" is all about the daftness of the chain of mishaps which happens during their night on the town. And to be honest they are daft from the kids blackmailing Chris to take them through to the chase as they try to escape a couple of bad guys who want a Playboy magazine they stole. But it is not only amusing but also well worked so when we have Chris telling them a scary story about a man with a hook for a hand, they end up meeting a man with a hook for a hand causing screams and panic. And whilst it does become outrageous there is something always keeping it attached to reality at the same time, well just.
With this aspect of being a blend of reality and fantasy it would be fair to say that all the characters are caricatures. And I am not just on about the central characters as those in the background are just as much which makes certain aspects of the movie false. By that I am on the way it represents the black community in Chicago as these are not real people and it does feel a little wrong at times, with them feeling less than natural.
But to be honest "Adventures in Babysitting" is not trying to be completely real and is more about an imaginative, mad cap adventure which it delivers. And at the centre of this we have a group of young actors and actresses which whilst there isn't some amazing performance they all work well together. Elisabeth Shue is instantly likeable as Chris whilst Keith Coogan and Anthony Rapp are amusing as hormonally charged teenagers plus of course there is Maia Brewton who has the cute factor. But there isn't one performance be it this group or from those in supporting roles which really shines.
What this all boils down to is that "Adventures in Babysitting" is simply a fun movie, an 80s farce which is predictable but will entertain. The most significant thing is that even now 25 years after it was made it is as entertaining as it ever was and the dated outfits almost add to the enjoyment.