If there’s anyone who can play a dreamy babysitter seemingly pulled out of a fantasy, it’s Elisabeth Shue. She has the girl next door appeal with the extraordinary beauty that makes her such an interesting heroine in Chris Columbus’ small classic adventure. The 1987 comedy is about as unique as it gets, spawning a bunch of imitators, none of whom can really live up to the enthusiasm and comic timing that Shue, Keith Coogan, and Maia Brewton manage to in a little under eighty minutes time.
Shue plays dreamy eyed Chris Parker, a high school senior in a relationship she doesn’t realize is going South. When she’s let down by her long time boyfriend, she is tasked with babysitting the children of her parents’ friends. Both kids bring their own obstacles to the table for Chris, but her mundane night goes awry when Chris’ best friend Megan is stuck in a bus station, and needs to be picked up. What begins as a simple errand run, transforms in to an all night series of misadventures, prompting Chris to muster up courage, strength, and patience, all the while enduring her young charges.
Along the way, Columbus and writer David Simkins keep “Adventures in Babysitting” brisk and entertaining, offering up a lot of extraordinary scenarios our characters have to seemingly battle out of. Things seem to only get worse for Chris and her group as they also become the target of a ring of car thieves after they accidentally steal a “Playboy” filled with their top secret notes. Simkins writing is raucously fun, always skirting the line between an R rating and a G rating.
The more humorous dangerous encounters are almost always skirting the rating, right down to a gang war that involves a stabbing and Chris having to literally make a stand if she hopes to get everyone off of the train without being killed. Though there is a healthy dose of menace injected, “Adventures in Babysitting” is classic eighties fodder that’s just all out raucous fun for a broad audience. Columbus is never afraid to go off the wall and as a result delivers one very unique and entertaining comedy that has yet to be duplicated.