Adventures In Babysitting Blu-ray Review
Growing up, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING was a staple in our household. While I have seen it dozens of times in my youth, I have not revisited the film in quite sometime. So it was with much trepidation that I went into reviewing a film that I had such fond memories of, in fear that those memories would be shattered. Surprisingly, the film holds up quite well. In fact, it more than holds up quite well, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING soars with charm, wit and humor.
Elizabeth Shue (THE KARATE KID, LEAVING LAS VEGAS) is Chris Parker, a seventeen year old lip singing to The Crystals’ “Then He Kissed Me” as she prepares for her date. But when the “So Cool” slimeball has a last minute lame cancellation excuse, Chris reluctantly takes on a babysitting gig. Unfortunately, her best friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) runs away from home getting trapped at a nightmarish bus station in down town Chicago and begs Chris to come pick her up. Chris has no choice but to take the kids with her – A ten year old girl named Sara (Maia Brewton) obsessed with Thor, Sara’s fifteen year old brother Brad (Keith Coogan) obsessed with Chris, Brad’s obnoxious best friend Daryll (Anthony Rapp) obsessed with all women. From here the babysitting gig becomes an adventure of epic proportions as the four face off against subway gangs, evil mafia dealers and a gun wielding hook handed trucker.
From the over the top baddie with the raspy voice and raised eyebrows (even the word Ca-ter-er is delivered with wicked humorous edge) to a surprisingly fit Vincent D’Onofrio as a mechanic/Thor look-alike, everyone play their roles terrifically. The key isn’t necessarily the written dialogue but how each actor delivers every line with perfect comedic precision in timing and rhythm. The biggest star of the film though is Elisabeth Shue who commands every scene like a comedy veteran. Committing fully to the performance, Shue’s actions and reactions are spot on funny and identifiable. Uttering each line with brilliant inflection, she makes every word more memorable than what is initially written on paper.
This is Chis Columbus‘ first directorial effort who later went on to direct such hits as HOME ALONE and the first two HARRY POTTER films. When watching ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, his knowledge of entertainment and gift for working with young actors is clearly seen. Jokes fill this 1987 picture effortlessly, which is more than I can say for many current comedies.
Granted, in many aspects I am swayed with memories of my family watching and giggling as we quote along with the film (which I can proudly still do) and dance along with the impromptu “Babysitting Blues” song, chiming in with the kids as they sing, “…And We Should Be In Bed!” But even without those memories, I was laughing all over again at the whole 80’s embraced absurdity of it all. And during Elisabeth Shue’s brave performance as she freestyles on the fly crooning the lead vocals, I am filled all over again with giddy excitement and sincere gratitude that no one is getting out of here without singing the blues.
Video: (1080p, 1.85:1) The transfer is a little disappointing compared to other Blu-rays with many scenes that are still very grainy.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound on the other hand, is a vast improvement clearly capturing the sounds of the many scenarios and balancing the levels between the great soundtrack with the funny dialogue.
I would have hoped for more from the Blu-ray release of ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING as it is definitely lacking. However, for me the film is a must own no matter how it comes.