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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 4/13/00

Adventures in Babysitting
1987 (2000) - Touchstone (Buena Vista)

review by Brad Pilcher of The Digital Bits

Adventures in Babysitting Film Rating: B-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): C+/A-/F

Specs and Features

102 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, film-themed menu screens, scene access (22 chapters), languages: English & French (DD 2.0) subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

"Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues."

All young boys have a few things in common. For a while, you think girls have cooties. Then, the moment comes. It usually involves an embarrassing instant where you look at a girl and think she's, "actually really nice," and then get made fun of for a few weeks before the next boy in the pack begins to turn. It's like a contagious plague, you see, and it happens to us all. There is something else that all young boys share as well - the really hot babysitter. Enter Adventures in Babysitting, in which Elisabeth Shue is the requisite really hot babysitter.

When her big night out with the boyfriend gets canceled (by the boyfriend), she ends up babysitting for a little girl and her teenage older brother. But when an emergency draws the threesome, plus one extra friend, along for a ride downtown, all sorts of hilarity ensues. There is an almost Ferris Bueller's Day Off quality to all of this, and it plays out amusingly enough.

The movie itself isn't all that wonderful, but it's a nostalgia classic for any eighties kid. The script is funny throughout, with some whimsical dialogue that keeps the crazy adventures afloat. Shue's performance is good in this leading role. I can't imagine that playing a babysitter who has to get the kids home safely would be the most challenging role, but Shue still pulls it off with style. The rest of the cast are not quite Oscar-caliber, but they all provide passable support. Aside from that, we've got your typical family-film cinematography and directing (a sign of things to come by a young Chris Columbus). This film is carried entirely by the situations and wit of its dialogue. No complaints there, but the film is still low fat.

The video on this DVD is average with some evident grain. The transfer is, unfortunately, not anamorphic and it could have used the extra lines of resolution. The colors are good, although a little muted. All in all, however, the video isn't anything to complain too much about aside from some print defects and the aforementioned issues. On the audio end, we have a solid and encompassing track, with robust dialogue and strong music. This movie does not require much in the way of sound effects, but what we do get is a solid 2.0 mix. What about extras, you ask? There are none. There's not even any trailers. You literally get nothing, and that's just unacceptable. Movie-only releases are fine, especially for films of this nature, but you should get a trailer at the least.

The verdict on this disc is simple. You have a nostalgia classic that is an average film. It's definitely worth a look for some light afternoon viewing, but those who have this on their list of childhood memories will remember the film more fondly than most. If you're a parent, do take note that this is not the most family of family films. An early scene has the helpful tow-truck driver going home and shooting up his house when he finds his wife in bed with another man. Other examples include everybody mistaking Shue for a playmate centerfold and some copious foul language. For everybody else, give this disc a look.

Brad Pilcher
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