A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Adventures in Babysitting is a remake of the 1987 movie of the same name and stars Disney alums Sabrina Carpenter and Sofia Carson in the shared lead role. The story's mostly preposterous plot (a carefree teen butts in on another's babysitting job, then loses one of her charges, launching an urban rescue mission where anything can happen) invites all kinds of hilarity that kids will enjoy but parents -- and anyone else with a grasp of reality -- will find less amusing. The good news is all turns out well in the end, even if that means the teens' many legal transgressions (breaking and entering, speeding, scalping tickets) go without consequence. On the upside, the experience inspires the teens to change in positive ways that make each more likable, and there's nothing to fret over in the kid-friendly content.
What's the story?
An inauspicious encounter at a job interview leads to a phone mix-up and the craziest night of two teens' lives in ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING. Vying for a prestigious art internship, straightlaced Jenny (Sabrina Carpenter) and free spirit Lola (Sofia Carson) quickly establish they couldn't be less like each other, but when Lola nudges in on a babysitting job that was meant for Jenny, then loses one of her charges, the two must join forces to locate him and bring him home. It sounds simple enough, but factor in a borrowed (without permission) vehicle, four kids, a pressing curfew, animosity between the rival babysitters, and all the distractions of the urban nightlife, and there's no telling where this adventure will lead.
Is it any good?
This movie's appeal is inversely proportional to your affection for the original and your maturity, which bodes well for its success with the younger crowd but not so much for their parents. Casting familiar faces Carpenter and Carson in the lead roles gives the movie an edge with Disney fans who will want to tune in to see their combined effort in this comedy. The story is appropriately packed with chaos, humor, and unexpected twists and turns kids will love, even while it takes many pages out of the original Adventures in Babysitting story. Most notable among the likenesses are an impromptu stage performance (modern rap instead of blues, though), a few near misses with the parental units, and a young girl's starstruck encounter with her idols (a roller derby team steps in for Thor this time around). And, because it's Disney, it's a squeaky-clean offering designed with kids in mind.
On the other hand, if you come to this reimagining with strong ties to Elizabeth Shue's classic performance in the role, you'll be sorely disappointed. It turns out two aren't better than one when it comes to effective babysitting, and the teens' constant power struggle quickly wears on the nerves, especially with Lola's utter negligence that's spun as humor. It's a necessary evil, as that's what sets up the night's adventures, but it's not likely to strike parents in the same hilarious way it will kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what examples (if any) of positive role models exist in this story. How do the Jenny and Lola of the beginning compare to their characters at the end? What inspires the changes you see? Are they effective babysitters? Would your parents agree?
What do we learn by making mistakes and suffering consequences from them? How does it feel to own up to a mistake? Are you quick to forgive when others have erred against you?
Kids: Did Carpenter and Carlson's involvement in this movie affect your desire to see it? Is it ever difficult to see a favorite actor or actress play a role that's different from what you first saw and liked of them? Do you think this movie benefited from their work in particular?
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