Adventures in Babysitting - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Adventures in Babysitting Reviews

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September 17, 2017
A legitimately good film. Not only that, but Adventures In Babysitting is an undetected classic of its genre. Somehow, this movie flew under the radar of every single critic in the nation to disappear between the tiny, tiny cracks in our nation's pop culture.
Actually, that's a lie. Nothing escapes the eye of pop culture, which is why we all know who The Lone Ranger is despite his being a persona non grata for the last forty-odd years (And we do know who The Lone Ranger is, right kids?).
And that's probably also the reason why you remember Adventures In Babysitting (AIB). Perhaps fuzzily, perhaps warmly, perhaps even fondly. Or maybe you saw it last week and hated it, I don't know.
But I'm here to tell you that AIB is one well-oiled machine of a movie. And when I say machine I'm not talking about a heartless, soulless abomination like a Terminator or a Michael Bay movie. What I mean is that AIB meticulously crafted, well cast, and a perfectly paced thrill ride of a movie.
Once our principal cast is introduced, the film simply does not let up, providing laughs and shocks in equal number and pausing only briefly to let us (and the actors) take a breath before moving along to whatever calamity in next in line for our youthful heroes.
And I'd be hard-pressed to think of a more ingenious and flat-out fun MacGuffin than the copy of Playboy that keeps the mafioso baddies hot on our heroes' trail and provides many opportunities for babysitter Shue (bringing an 'A' game from the opening credits to the very end) to be compared to the centerfold.
The cinematography is slick, whether depicting a smoky nightclub or a swanky cocktail party, thanks to DoP Ric Waite. Everything's cut together well, the geography of each scene is clear and easily understood. Watching this, it's easy to see how director Columbus landed the directing gigs on the first two Harry Potter movies: He makes everything so simple to follow that even a child can understand what's going on, even if they don't understand the gags that are aimed more at the parents who've been dragged to the theater.
My only substantial complaint is that Columbus is quite obviously a protege of John Hughes, and some scenes and choices are just too blatantly derived from his films. The aforementioned nightclub scene is a setup right our of Weird Science (tho it plays out much differently), and the mad dash to beat the parents home is a straight-up copy of the climax of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Columbus' choice and placement of pop songs is a little too reminiscent of Hughes as well. But it was his first movie, so maybe I should cut him a little slack.
All in all, AIB is a phenomenal kids' adventure film-well put-together, well acted, and hey, it's got freakin' Thor in it. Not even The Goonies can make that claim. 4/5 Stars.
½ August 14, 2017
Well what can you say but this is one weird babysitter that goes on an adventure that doesn't make any sense. I give this movie a *2.5* rating. Enuff said!
Super Reviewer
August 7, 2017
Or, curiously, as it was known in the UK 'A Night on the Town'. Funnily enough I can't seem to find out why this change was implemented in the UK. I know the UK version was cut by about 8 seconds for profanity and since then the movie was released with those cuts back in and the original title restored. I guess the title change could have been down to possible confusion with some other movie, I guess. That being said, the plot is essentially a kids version of Martin Scorsese's 1985 movie 'After Hours'.

Not only that, this movie always seemed like a bit of an oddity to me. Its most definitely a classic 80's movie yet somehow...I always felt like it should of had a more classic cast. Its the strangest thing, every time I think about this movie I keep putting other classic actors of the era in it, knowing full well they weren't in it. I guess what I'm saying is this movie really needed some A-list talent in it. The movie really does yearn for a standout comedic performance to add some punch, the best bet being the villains ('Home Alone' being a good example). To me this always felt like a huge missed opportunity.

The other main issue I had with this movie is the plot. Basically Chris Parker (Elizabeth Shue) has taken on a babysitting gig after her boyfriend blows her off. Her job for the evening now is to look after teenager Brad (Keith Coogan), 8 year old Sara (Maia Brewton) and next door neighbour Daryl who gate crashes the situation. Now the entire backbone of the story hinges on one thing, Chris Parker's friend Brenda running away from home and getting stuck at the city bus station. Brenda uses up all her money to run away to the bus station, changes her mind and wants Chris to come pick her up. To me this was always really weak and really annoying too, I'd be like...not my problem, ring your parents. So Chris feels obliged to help her idiotic friend, but to make matters worse the kids blackmail her into taking them along, cue the nightmare.

The movie moves from one set piece to another introducing more and more problems for Chris as her night becomes more and more convoluted. The whole scenario is one long chain reaction of events intertwined. Its also one of those scenarios in a film where you sit there, at times feeling uncomfortable because you just know the characters shouldn't be doing this that or the other. You find yourself saying things out loud because you know what's gonna happen. One of the first major setbacks for Chris and co is when their car gets a flat and after a string of events they end up losing it. This is something that I found to be a constant worry while watching the kids get deeper and deeper. Will they find the car? Where is the car? Is it in one piece? Obviously you know everything will be OK; but you know the movie is working when you're thinking about it.

Of course everything that does happen is pretty cliched, kids being trapped in the city (Chicago) at night you know what to expect. Nothing horrendous obviously as the movie was for kids but the usual stereotypical 80's stuff. Lots of bums, hookers, weirdos, criminals that are generally black or mafia-like, some classic 80's street gangs in some attire to die for, and of course frat boys. Because what 80's flick is complete without frat boys, required or not. But the main crux surrounds the kids being continuously chased by some criminals because they accidentally picked up a [i]Playboy[/i] magazine with some important criminal details written inside.

Chris and co manage to stumble into a jazz club where they are forced to sing the blues. This whole sequence was certainly silly and embarrassing that's for sure. I know this is a movie but who would have time for a sing song in this situation?? But this sequence did also remind me very much of 'The Blues Brothers' especially with Albert Collins on show. Later on in the movie the kids wind up at a frat boy party (because...80's) where we see the usual beer chugging tomfoolery along with high school sluts. But we also see another musical cameo from Southside Johnny Lyon which again gave me those Blues Brothers vibes. The soundtrack for the movie is very good overall, some nice soul and blues going down.

As the adventure progresses the kids meet up with various folk who either help them or don't quite simply. All the while annoying Brenda is having a nervous breakdown in the bus station over not very much really. The whole deal with Brenda felt really out of place, just too stupid. I understand she's a teen but Jesus Christ get a fucking grip girl! Gotta say, Maia Brewton who plays little Sara was annoying too with her Thor obsession (yes Thor). This all plays into the sequence where the kids meet up with Dawson (Vincent D'Onofrio), the mechanic who has their car towards the end. This guy has long blonde hair (a terrible wig on D'Onofrio) and carries a sledgehammer that looks like Thor's hammer, so Sara thinks its Thor (ugh!). They owe Dawson $50 for a tyre (only 50! how times have changed), but only have 45, so Dawson refuses. But then little Sara offers him her kids Thor helmet (cos she's dressed as Thor the entire movie), and Dawson suddenly changes his mind, just like that. Deus ex machina Thor helmet moment.

Hell in the finale the kids end up at the top of a skyscraper and Sara flippin' climbs out of the window and shimmies down the glass onto a ledge! She's being chased by one of the bad guys yes but my God! Its at this point I started to question director Chris Columbus's motives. Clearly he did this just to raise the stakes, make things more thrilling, but its essentially really stupid because no kid would do that. Also the carjacker that initially helps the kids, knocks out his criminal boss to help them finally escape. But what happens to him? Does he wind up getting whacked for punching his boss? Or does he give up his life of crime and start over? Who knows.

Naturally everything works out in the end with a Ferris Bueller-esque finish that is reasonably enjoyable. Even though I was engaged in the unfolding events I was never worried about things not working out, obviously. Even though (as I've said) this is a classic 80's flick, in all honesty there are better ones out there in my humble little opinion. This movie is fun but lacks some real talent of the time. There are so many characters that could have easily been cameos for big name comedians of the era. The movie tries to be funny, witty and at times edgy but it tends to fall a bit flat. The music is a highlight as are the glorious retro inner city visuals; but the main characters are kinda irritating and can't hold a candle to other 80's movie casts. In the end its still hard to believe that this entire chain of events happened simply because of one ditzy girlfriend and her own foolishness.
½ August 2, 2017
As the time I'm typing this, Happy 30th Anniversary to Adventures In Babysitting. A movie that is fast paced, funny, and some likable characters. I highly recommend you stick with this movie than that poor shitty, kid friendly, pussy remake.
½ July 23, 2017
Perhaps the only part of the movie that still really holds up is how the youngest in the group, Sara, is an obsessed fan of Marvel's Thor-not princesses or pop divas, but a geeky superhero. But the porno mag objet a? the homophobic slurs? turning the Chicago destitute into a running gag? Movies for kids shouldn't age this poorly.
½ June 17, 2017
Between a 6/10 and 7/10, a sweet-natured, adolescent variation on the big-city black comedy After Hours.
Super Reviewer
May 10, 2017
Nothing like a good old fashioned 80s movie that is an adventure without a solid plot. You know a film works when it moves at such a pace while pushing the characters along, slowly bridging the distance between them. A great soundtrack, full of fun characters and an odd sense of fun. The plot creates a lot of over the top set pieces, even involving Thor from the marvel universe. They definitely don't make movies like this anymore and it's a shame. Trusting the film will deliver more than a 3 plot structure is what created my love of cinema, these are the films that pushed my ideas along. Not a classic by any means, just a film with right balance of craziness and character. 10-05-2017.
April 2, 2017
Extremely fun to watch. I love this movie. It is definitely an 80's classic, starring Elizabeth Shue. Very original and awesome. A funny movie.
February 14, 2017
It was cute. Was a pretty fun 80's family movie. The plot was fun and I laughed a few times.
October 17, 2016
This is so shit I like it.
October 13, 2016
A favorite of mine as a kid. It holds up really well.
September 3, 2016
A real adventure in full 80's fashion. It was filmed during a time when homo jokes and rape jokes were acceptable. It's streaming on Netflix and was oddly enjoyable minus the jokes mentioned in the last sentence.
August 8, 2016
Babysitter gets lost with her brood in Chicago in this fun summer comedy.
July 12, 2016
Another 80's movie packed with fun
July 2, 2016
The best John Hughes movie John Hughes had nothing to do with..
June 28, 2016
This is definitely an 80s classic. This is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. This is a movie that just can't be forgotten unlike its remake. This movie gets a A.
June 8, 2016
A cheesy but good hearted 80s action flick. A story about a night babysitting filled with shenanigans and some laughs. Yes its dated but good family fare.
June 3, 2016
Don't fuck with the babysitter!

Chris is babysitting a young man that has a crush on her, his little sister who pretends to be Thor, and the boy's best friend. Unfortunately, her friend is lost in the city with no glasses. She loads the kids in the car and heads into the big city in hopes of rescuing her friend before anything tragic happens to her.

"You wouldn't believe what that girl would do for twenty bucks."

Chris Columbus, director of Home Alone 1 & 2, Mrs. Doubtfire, Step Mom, Nine Months, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Rent, Pixels, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lightening Thief, delivers Adventures in Babysitting. The storyline for this picture is fun in a 'Don't tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead' kind of way. There is a lot of cheese in here, but the 80s feel is fun to watch unfold.

"You slip me the cash and I'll slip you the weiner."

I found this on HBOGO not too long ago and decided to give it a viewing for the first time in a long time. I still thoroughly enjoyed it, but it is a very average film that has badly aged. I do think this is a must see, but isn't worth adding to the collection.

"Take back what you said about Thor!"

Grade: C+
½ May 20, 2016
Back after a brief reviewing hiatus.
Adventures in Babysitting, the directorial debut of Chris Columbus, is mediocre at best. It's not necessarily bad, but there's a lot of cringeworthy, eye roll worthy bits that make the film have a very corny, outdated, and overdone atmosphere. It's Baby's Day Out with the babysitter and an annoyingly blatant Anthony Michael Hall influenced character.
A teenager babysits three kids for a night but when going out to the big cities of Chicago to pick up her friend, she runs into all kinds of zany trouble, all the while running away from two carjacker empire lords.
The setup of Adventures in Babysitting may have one of the first to do it, but isn't the last to do it. Tons of films have done it better, take another Columbus movie Home Alone - the scenario of kids stumping criminals is a trope of the late 80s and early 90s and when you've seen it once, you've seen it a million times. I think a big issue with Adventures in Babysitting is how it's not funny in when it's supposed to be - these zany setups of when things get gradually worse for the bland, annoying characters lack humor entirely. It has a lot of potential for humor because some of these setups are original and admittedly entertainingly to see evolve - the carjackers, although repetitive for an experienced film watcher, are not so much bumbling than they are a threat to the characters - obviously the bumbling criminals idea is overused, but not at this point in film history. The characters are bland and annoying, especially the oddball best friend of the oldest kid, Darryl - he's a mix between Anthony Michael Hall and Ferguson from Clarissa Explains It All, as best as I can compare, and that should give a good explanation on what you're in for. There's some dumb bits here and there, but nothing too bad to ruin the film - in all fairness, there's some entertaining bits and some really bad ones - hits and misses all around. Adventures in Babysitting isn't meant to be taken so seriously, I guess, but isn't one of the finer family flicks of the 80s.
½ May 16, 2016
I was nervous revisiting this film that I absolutely adored growing up, because many of my childhood favorites don't age so well. But Adventures in Babysitting is so wonderful, and doesn't feel like it has aged at all. The story totally holds up, and I love pretty much every aspect of the film. Each little dangerous twist and turn that the plot takes adds to the fun, and the logic of why they end up in each place makes total sense. There are certainly some silly moments (like the scene in the blues club) but I just chalk that up as movie-logic utilized for a joke. This film was actually Chris Columbus' directorial debut, and he does a great job with it. One of the things that Columbus seems to be able to manage remarkably well are child actors. He almost always casts kids that are quality actors, and directs them so they will realize their full potential. Of course the cast entirely hinges on Elisabeth Shue, who is simply adorable in this movie. I had a pretty big crush on her back in the day, but seeing it as an adult I can still say her performance is superb. I particularly love the scenes where she starts to panic because of all the insanity going on around them, but simultaneously fights to maintain her role as babysitter watching over the kids. There's very little that I don't enjoy about Adventures in Babysitting, and as I said it holds up pretty well today, so I would highly recommend it.
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