"Adventures in Babysitting" is Still Funny 25 Years Later

Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures
July 26th, 2012

"Adventures in Babysitting" is Still Funny 25 Years Later

--When the film "Adventures in Babysitting" came out in 1987, nobody could have guessed that it would become a hit film. In 2012, Disney is issuing a special 25th anniversary Blu-ray and DVD to commemorate the film and its place in the myriad of 1980s teen movies.

Director John Hughes is almost inarguably the king of 1980s teen films. With hits like "The Breakfast Club" and "Sixteen Candles," he became known for portraying teenagers with actual feelings. They were no longer caricatures or simply a vehicle for moving their parents' stories forward. Instead, they were the focus of the films. The result is some very iconic movies that still stand the test of time today.

John Hughes was not involved in any way in the making of "Adventures in Babysitting." However, the film did benefit from the new interest in teen movies that was a direct result of his films. Though there is no way to quantify this, the general feeling at the time was that many moviegoers may not have been interested in a teen comedy about a babysitter's wacky night on the town if it wasn't for the superb work Hughes had been doing with teen comedies before it.

The film centers on Chris Parker, a high school student played by Elisabeth Shue. She is asked to babysit Sara Anderson (Maia Brewton) and Brad Anderson (Keith Coogan). Since her date, Mike (Bradley Whitford), has unceremoniously canceled on her, she agrees to babysit for some extra cash. She thinks the night will be boring, but she couldn't be more wrong. Her friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) gets stranded without her glasses and can't make her way back home. She needs a ride, so Chris loads Sara, Brad and Brad's degenerate friend, Daryl (Anthony Rapp), into her station wagon to pick her up.

The four of them head from the quiet suburbs into the big city of Chicago, where they quickly get a flat tire. This sets off a series of madcap shenanigans, each one funnier than the next. There are also some genuinely heartwarming moments sprinkled in between the obstacles that Chris and the kids must overcome in order to pick up Brenda and head back home before Mr. and Mrs. Anderson find out what they were up to.

The film marked the directorial debut of Chris Columbus. The success of this film would allow him to go on to have a very successful career, including directing "Home Alone," which catapulted him into the stratosphere because of its worldwide box office popularity.

This movie also served as a launching pad for quite a few actors. Before "Adventures in Babysitting," Elisabeth Shue's most remarkable role was as Daniel's girlfriend in "The Karate Kid." Though that was a highly successful movie, Shue still had to prove herself. This film allowed her to prove that she had the acting chops to be a film lead. She would later shed her wholesome image when she was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of a prostitute in "Leaving Las Vegas."

Bradley Whitford is probably best known as a politico in "The West Wing," he was still an unknown when "Adventures in Babysitting" was released. Penelope Ann Miller was also still in the infancy of her career before her portrayal of wacky band geek Brenda helped get her noticed by Hollywood executives.

Fans of the film will be happy that the re-release will mark the first time the film can be seen in high definition. It has been full restored, so the colors and backgrounds will pop much more than when the movie was originally released.

On the down side, Disney has not released any special features with it. This is similar to the anniversary edition of "The Rocketeer," which was also short on special features. Fans who pay a premium for Blu-ray over DVD are used to getting cast interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and all the extra goodies. Unfortunately, they will not be able to enjoy these with this edition of "Adventures in Babysitting."

Despite the special features oversight, many people who came of age in the 1980s will enjoy having a good, high-quality copy of this underrated gem that they can view in their home. The film is still funny and relevant today. Even Sara's obsession with Thor seems timely today since the comic book superhero was recently featured in his own film and as one of Marvel's "The Avengers." With a soundtrack full of nostalgic tunes and the original song "Babysitting Blues," many Generation X-ers will be clamoring to buy this when it is released on August 7, 2012.