The Babysitter Blu-ray review
All suburban parents need a babysitter at some point or another—someone to watch the kids, raid the fridge, give the father someone to fantasize over…
The babysitter this Friday night is teenager Jennifer (Alicia Silverstone, who earlier than year starred in CLUELESS), who all the men on the streets watch with lustful eyes—partly because of the short skirt and partly because she appears to move in slow motion. She is hired by Harry (J.T. Walsh, 1994’s THE CLIENT) and Dolly Tucker (Lee Garlington, best recognized for her television work), who are attending a party at the home of their friends, Bill (George Segal, two years before he would take a lead role in the Steven Levitan-created sitcom JUST SHOOT ME!) and Bernice Holsten (Lois Chiles, perhaps best known for her turn as Holly Goodhead in James Bond entry MOONRAKER ). As convenience would have it, Bill and Bernice’s son Mark (Nicky Katt, who had a small role in Richard Linklater’s DAZED AND CONFUSED) has a major affection for Jennifer. So, too, does Jennifer’s ex-boyfriend, Jack (Jeremy London, the same year he starred in Kevin Smith’s MALLRATS). So, too, does Harry, whose fantasies about the babysitter nearly cause him to swerve his car into oncoming traffic.
With all of this panting over Jennifer, one might jump to assume she’s the one luring the men, if not solely based on Silverstone’s dangerous character in her 1993 debut THE CRUSH, in which she preyed on Cary Elwes. She is merely walking or eating ice cream or answering the phone—and that’s all it takes for a trio of men to imagine her in a bathtub. And yet there’s no real point made about these sorts of individuals, who show up at the babysitter’s gig to seduce her or get fiercely mad about the idea of her having sex with someone her own age.
Through Jennifer, director Guy Ferland (who would later direct DIRTY DANCING: HAVANA NIGHTS and a dozen episodes of FX’s SONS OF ANARCHY) tries to tempt the male viewers into fantasies instead of warning them against them. Even when the finale rolls around and some of the characters get what’s coming (albeit in ways that would fit well in a soap opera), the consequences don’t resonate. It’s like the characters would feel like it was all worth it simply because they got to picture giving Silverstone a scrub in the tub. Walsh’s moments stand out as an example: while they are particularly disturbing, Ferland has no qualms about showing the “fun” of it, imagining the naked Jennifer laughing right along with the clothed Harry.
Based on Robert Coover’s 1969 short story of the same name, THE BABYSITTER (which went direct to video in 1995) is a sleazy little movie that, while it certainly doesn’t go as far as blatantly exploiting its star, has perhaps too much fun with the idea of adult male perversion. Even the tagline reads, “A new reason to stay up late…” But it’s not, really.
Video: 1.78:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The image is quite soft and doesn’t offer many details.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. The audio is passable but lacks much dimension.
There are no special features on this release.