Adventures in Babysitting

Movie review by
Teresa Talerico, Common Sense Media
Adventures in Babysitting Movie Poster Image
'80s comedy has lots of profanity, peril, innuendos.
  • PG-13
  • 1987
  • 102 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 16 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The overriding message is that teenagers have terrible judgment but somehow they will also be extremely lucky and avoid the consequences of their seemingly lethal errors. Not only can you survive such risky situations, but they will add up to constitute the greatest night of your life. Don't take rides with strangers. Strangers can be kind and helpful.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Chris makes one bad decision after another, oblivious to the fact that her actions jeopardize the safety of her charges. Nevertheless, when facing the perilous consequences of her decisions, she unfailingly (however late) puts the safety of the kids she's babysitting first. Joe, who steals cars for the bad guys, admires Chris and comes to her rescue several times. A threatening-looking mechanic turns out to be kind and helpful. A tow truck driver kindly helps the kids out. A college student lends Chris money to bail out her damaged car. A high school senior runs away from home but gets no further than a scary bus station.

Violence

A lot of peril comes out of incorrect assumptions made by teenagers. An innocent suburban high school senior encounters harmless but scary homeless people at a downtown Chicago bus station. A homeless woman steals her glasses, and she steals them back. A high school girl jokingly threatens to spike her stepmother's soda with Drano. A 7-year-old girl sits in the front seat of a car. Chris gets a flat tire on the highway and discovers there's no spare in the trunk. A scary tow truck driver offers to give Chris and her crew a ride, and they take it; he drives recklessly. A jealous husband fires shots at a man two-timing him. One shot hits Chris' mom's windshield. The kids are captured by bad men running a car theft ring. A child running from a bad guy clings to the outside of a glass skyscraper until she's rescued. People get punched. Kids jump subway turnstiles. Two street gangs get ready to rumble in a subway car. A knife is wielded and hits someone in the toe; no blood is seen. The babysitter's scary story about a murderer with a hook for a hand makes the kids scared stiff of a tow truck driver they meet with a hook for a hand. A man reveals a gun under his coat to a teen girl.

Sex

A college-age man dating a 17-year-old girl complains that her "legs are locked together at the knees." A man jumps out the window of the home of another man's wife with his pants open. A 15-year-old boy refers to a Playboy model's "humongous … " but is interrupted before he can finish. He makes frequent references to sex, including asking if someone got "her clothes off." A 15-year-old boy encounters a 17-year-old prostitute. A high school senior looks like she's about to kiss a college-age boy. A 15-year-old boy is kissed by a drunk college-age girl who says, "Wanna go to bed?" (They don't.) A running gag involves a female character's resemblance to a Playboy centerfold. An exchange between a hot dog vendor and his customer is played for laughs, with the word "wiener" having a sexual connotation.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "homo," "idiot," "bitch," "scum sucker," "penis," "goddamn," and "Jesus."

Consumerism

Visible products include Cap'n Crunch cereal, a Coke machine, and a Nestlé Crunch chocolate bar. References are also made to Häagen-Dazs and Clearasil.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult characters drink cocktails at a swanky party. College students drink alcohol and play drinking games at a frat party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Adventures in Babysitting is a 1987 comedy. It includes some violent scenes, but they're mostly fodder for jokes that center on the vivid imaginations of kids from the 'burbs. A "stab wound" results in only one stitch; criminals chase the kids through the city but not for the sinister reason they think. You'll also see some guns, fistfights, and one scary moment where a little girl tries to escape a high-rise building by climbing out a window. The movie is also a little racy, with talk of Playboy magazine and a surprising number of sexual innuendos, including a college-age man dating a 17-year-old girl complaining that her "legs are locked together at the knees" and scenes with a prostitute. Profanity includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "homo," "idiot," "bitch," "scum sucker," "penis," "goddamn," and "Jesus."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 year old Written bybobsax April 9, 2008

Really bad Language and sexual themes

The TV version of this is fine to watch with kids as young as 8. I wish that version was available on DVD For some reason movies of this era thought it necessar... Continue reading
Parent of a 12 year old Written bylittleone522 February 6, 2011

Not for kids under 13

I was quite surprised at the language in this movie. All swear words are found in this movie that I thought was "safe" for kids. "son of a b... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

cool as ice

i haven't watched thi movie for 2 years but i still remember how laugh out loud funny it was and I also remember how confused I was since i was only 9 at t... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 28, 2009

very funny, if sort of inappropriate

This movie isn't meant to make you think. This movie isn't meant to tug on your heartstrings. This movie isn't made to have you on the edge of... Continue reading

What's the story?

ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING gets rolling when suburban high school senior Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) takes a last-minute babysitting gig. Shortly after the parents leave, Chris gets a frantic call from her best friend, who is stuck at the bus station with no money. Chris loads her young charges into her station wagon and heads for the big city. They quickly get into one scrape after another, starting with a tire blowout that leaves them stranded on a busy freeway. By the time the car is fixed, they have been held hostage in a chop shop, performed onstage at a blues bar, been pursued by criminals, and narrowly escaped street gangs on the subway. Although they seem to be magnets for mishaps, Chris and the kids manage to keep outwitting the bad guys -- with a little help along the way.

Is it any good?

As perky as its heroine, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING is a madcap dash through the mean streets of Chicago. This frothy, utterly '80s comedy manages to remain lighthearted and breezy despite several potentially dangerous situations that the main characters face.

Shue is especially fun to watch, and the film features a number of other actors who went on to bigger and better things, including Penelope Ann Miller, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lolita Davidovitch, The West Wing's Bradley Whitford, and red-haired Anthony Rapp of the Broadway and screen versions of Rent. Parents may not remember how racy the language and sexual content is, though, so think twice before sharing with your tweens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Chris made the right decision by taking the children into the city. What could she have done differently when her friend called her from the bus station? What would have been the sensible, "grown-up" thing to do?

  • How do you think this movie has aged? Is it still relevant?

  • What would have been the real-life consequences of this adventure?

Movie details

For kids who love the '80s

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