A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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."
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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?
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