Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

adventures in babysitting poster 1987 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun story makes for a fun movie

Dated a bit

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Adventures in Babysitting

Studio:  Touchstone Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  July 1, 1987

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

adventures in babysitting cast elisabeth shue keith coogan anthony rapp maia brewton

Take a trip to the city…it will be fun!!!

Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) is having a bad night. Her boyfriend Mike Todwell (Bradley Whitford) has cancelled their date and now she’s stuck babysitting Thor-loving Sara Anderson (Maia Brewton) and her brother Brad (Keith Coogan) who secretly has a crush on Chris. When Chris’s friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) reveals that she’s stranded at the downtown Chicago bus station, Chris takes Sara, Brad, and his friend Daryl Coopersmith (Anthony Rapp) to retrieve her…unfortunately, a flat tire leads to a bad towing, a carjacking, and a pursuit by mobsters. Now Chris must evade the mob, get her parents’ car, get Brenda, and get the kids in bed before bedtime.

adventures in babysitting blues song elisabeth shue albert collins

Nobody gets out of here without singing the blues

Directed by Chris Columbus, Adventures in Babysitting was called A Night on the Town in some countries. It was well received by critics and was the first PG-13 movie released by Disney (mostly due to language).

I love Adventures in Babysitting. Despite being a Chris Columbus film, it really feels like it could fit into the world of John Hughes with its Chicago/Oak Park setting (though it was actually mostly shot in Toronto). I recall seeing it in the theater with a large group and everyone having a good time. I, of course being a comic book lover, had extra enjoyment due to Sara’s love of Thor (which was a strange character to pick to worship at the time).

The movie has a good plot that really keeps moving. Despite really being just a comedy, the movie does have a lot of actual adventure elements. Similar in feeling to something like Beverly Hills Cop at points, the movie plays as a bit more kid friendly and lighthearted. Scenes like the travel across the ceiling of the warehouse and the outside of the Crain Communications Building actually still gets my palms sweating.

adventures in babysitting brenda penelope ann miller

Get out of my house!!!

The movie has a great cast. I always loved Elisabeth Shue and this is one of her earliest starring roles (Valerie Bertinelli, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jodie Foster, Justine Bateman. Sharon Stone, Andie MacDowell, and Brooke Shields were all considered). Penelope Ann Miller and Bradley Whitford also both went on to success and Anthony Rapp became one of the original performers in Rent (and reprising the role in the film) among other roles. The movie also features a small part by Vincent D’Onofrio as Dawson…aka Thor, and an appearance by blues guitarist Albert Collins in the classic blues club scene (I’ve got “The Babysitting Blues”).

adventures in babysitting thor vincent donofrio maia brewton

I’m not Thor, kid…I’m that crazy guy from Full Metal Jacket!!!

The film was largely shot in Canada with exterior shots and some location shots in Chicago.  As unrealistic and stupid as it is, the “city” of Adventures in Babysitting did shape and influence my views of Chicago and cities in general especially 1980s cities where danger lurked around every corner (prostitutes, drug dealers, gangs, etc.).

Adventures in Babysitting is just one of those fun ’80s movies. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it doesn’t pander by being a fart and gross-out movie. A failed TV series was planned in 1989 for CBS and for years a remake has been tossed around (which is unnecessary). Adventures in Babysitting might be a little dated by today’s standards, but still is a lot of fun.  A TV remake of the film was released in 2016.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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