Saturday, July 01, 2006

Babysitting 80's style

Babysitting gets a new look when it comes to this film. Adventures in Babysitting (1987) begins with senior Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) getting stood up by her "too cool" boyfriend at the last minute. Lucky for her the Andersons need a babysitter at the last minute. A mundane evening becomes a rip roaring adventure through the streets of Chicago.

Parker has to keep an eye of Sara (Maia Brewton), a non-stop pre-teen and her brother, Brad (Keith Coogan), a freshman in love with Parker. Parker's best friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) can't stand her mom, "I wish I could just spike her Tab with Draino" so she runs away from home to the big city only to get stuck at the bus station. On a completely different note, possibly the screenwriters of Heathers got the Draino idea from this film? Brenda calls Parker and begs her to come pick her up. The parents are gone, the kids are ready to go, and the station wagon is warmed up but then Daryll (Ryan Coopersmith) shows up. He is Brad's bestfriend and threatens to tell his parents if he isn't allowed to go.

The movie unfolds like a map of the city itself. The group find themselves with a flat tire and are rescued by a man with a hook for a hand. He towing her car to Dawson's garage when he then finds out his wife is cheating on him and takes them along to his house. They hide out in a Cadillac that is in the process of being stolen, they then end up in a chop shop, and narrowly escape by walking a very thin beam above the mobsters' heads. While being chased, the group ducks into the Silver Dollar Room where blues guitarist, Albert Collins insists, "Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues." The group breaks out into a blues type rap about the babysitting blues.

At this point Parker is desperate to get the car and the kids back home. When a gang fight is about to ensue on the subway Parker is brought to a boiling point when the gang leader says, "Don't f**k with the Lords of Hell." To which Parker replies, "Don't f**k with the babysitter." I have to admit she is pretty savvy for a suburban teen in a really scary situation and she has to have the best hair, hands down, for any babysitter I've ever had! Eventually, Parker and company find themselves back at her car and high tail it home just in time.

One thing that I think is a bit annoying about the film is the horrible cityscapes that look completely fake. I presume this was because the film was supposed to based in Chicago but was shot in Toronto. I also found the fact that a tow truck driver would help her for free, or the car thief would protect them, or that the frat boy would loan her $45 after just meeting her (let alone he even has that kind of money on hand) completely absurd. Possibly the director wanted to show that the people of Chicago aren't all that bad? I'm not sure about that.

My other gripe is the whole Playboy magazine thing. Was Playboy a sponsor of the movie because product placement is everywhere in this film. What I am sure of is that this movie is really fun adventure and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a wholesome laugh. Almost 20 years later this film is still funny and entertaining.

No comments: