Chris Parker agrees to babysit after her boyfriend, Mike Todwell, stands her up. Expecting a dull evening, she settles down with three kids for a night of TV...and boredom. But when her frantic friend, Brenda, calls and pleads to be rescued from the bus station in downtown Chicago, the evening soon explodes into an endless whirl of hair raising adventures. Chris and the kids leave their safe suburban surroundings and head for the heart of the big city, never imagining how terrifyingly funny their expedition will become.Written by
Sara's love of Marvel comics mirrors director Chris Columbus's who wanted to be a comic book artist for Marvel at one point but decided against it because it's an isolating existence and he preferred to work with people. See more »
On Sara's skate, her first name is spelled as "Sarah". In the end credits, it is spelled "Sara". See more »
"Adventures in Babysitting" is an underrated gem featuring a very strong young cast. The movie opens with Chris Parker (played by Elizabeth Shue in a very early starring role) first finding out that her boyfriend can't make their big date that night. So she agrees to babysit Sara and Brad Anderson, played by Maia Brewton and Keith Coogan (both of whom have dropped off the face of the earth, apparently, in the last 10 or 15 years). Sara's kind of a brat, and Brad has a crush on Chris. Brad's best friend Daryl (played by Anthony Rapp, who went on to appear in "Dazed and Confused" and "Road Trip"), who is an annoying wise-ass, also drops by. Things go okay until Chris gets a call from her best friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller), who says that she ran away from home, and is now stuck at a bus station in the city with no money and no way home, and of course she can't call her parents. This prompts Chris to take the kids (including Daryl) on a little trip, and of course, hilarious hijinks ensue.
They have a tire blow-out, and are helped by a mechanic with a hook for a hand. Their car is then stolen, and they go to try to get it back. They're caught by the mobsters running the car ring, and have to escape (which they achieve by walking along a very thin metal beam overhead). But the mobsters catch them trying to leave, forcing them on the run and leading to one of the funniest scenes in the movie: going through a blues club, the singer stops them, saying "Ain't nobody leaves here without singing the blues." So they do, Chris leading, singing a song about their predicament. It's both cute and hilarious, with the others joining in singing back-up ("And we should be in bed!").
The rest of the movie is about them being chased through the city by these mobsters, and of course, there's one funny bit after another, with some suspenseful bits thrown in for good measure. This is all hilarious, but the best scenes are the ones interspersed throughout with Brenda trying to get along at the bus station. Penelope Ann Miller truly steals the show; scared out of her skull, she has to contend with such problems as a bum yelling at her to get out of his "house" (a phone booth); getting her glasses stolen by a bag lady (the look on the bag lady's face when she puts them on and realizes she can see is priceless); a hot dog vendor who won't help her out ("Then I don't have a wiener!" he says when she says she doesn't have any cash); and a jumbo-sized sewer rat she tries to rescue, thinking it's a cute little kitty cat (because she can't see). This is probably the best part Penelope Ann Miller has ever had, and she demonstrates a surprising talent for screwball comedy.
Like I said, the rest of the young cast is great; Shue pretty much began her career here, and Coogan, Rapp, and Brewton (who was also very funny on the also underrated TV show "Parker Lewis Can't Lose", which I'm dying to see come out on DVD) put in funny, though clichéd, parts. "Adventures in Babysitting" is one of those movies that just sounded kind of dumb based on the title (like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), but if you haven't seen it, give it a try anyway; the brilliant gags and the strong acting made it work.
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