The Babysitters (2007)
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Shirley (Katherine Waterston) is an attractive suburban high school student who decides to make a little extra money babysitting for the young son of a local couple. When the husband, Michael (John Leguizamo), who is clearly unhappy in his marriage, pays to have sex with her at the end of the night, Shirley comes up with a scheme to parlay that into a full-fledged teen-prostitution ring, with Michael lining up other clients among his married buddies and Shirley setting herself up as a sort of "madam," "hiring" her friends from school to serve as under-aged "call girls." But the folks involved soon discover that, when it comes to affairs of the heart and of the loins, one can't always dictate how things will turn out.
Writer/director David Ross aims at a wide range of targets, from the sterility of suburbia and middle class marriage to middle-aged men who refuse to grow up – and who, instead of serving as moral guides for the girls, are willing to exploit them for their own perverted needs - to the capitalist system itself, at least as embodied by the "enterprising" young entrepreneur, Shirley, who often has to stoop to ruthless and dictatorial tactics to ensure the viability and survival of her business.
But always, beneath it all, there is the intense sadness and emotional emptiness of the situation, as these attractive young ladies - who are really just confused and insecure kids under all the makeup, sexy clothing and alluring bravado - find themselves getting into something they can neither fully understand nor fully control. Even Michael seems unable to separate the sex from his own more romantic feelings for Shirley as he battles with jealousy thinking about her with other men. Perhaps, the most indicting line of dialogue comes from one of the creepier gents who cluelessly proclaims that one day, when these girls are all grown up, they will look back on this time as one of the greatest of their lives. Yet, paradoxically, the exploitation goes both ways, as these "naïve" girls, particularly Shirley, wrap a bunch of immature middle-aged men around their little fingers, ultimately using the men's uncontrollable libido against them.
It is this complicated twist that gives the film its darkly humorous tone and makes "The Babysitters" more than just a titillating and exploitative exercise in finger-wagging moral umbrage.
Not at all the Debbie-does-Dallas style piece of cheese that I was expecting from the description I had read, I found this film really rather touching and thought provoking. The acting was excellent, especially considering the apparent young age of some of the cast. Katherine Waterston shone as Shirley, and managed to convey all of the awkwardness of her slightly neurotic teenage character, whilst still being completely convincing in later scenes where her inner core of steel shows through. The range of different personalities amongst the girls as a group was excellent, and each character was thoroughly fleshed out. If there was a weak link here, I would say that perhaps there was not quite enough focus on the reactions of the teenage boys to what is going on around them - Scott's reaction to Shirley later in the film appears to come from nowhere. Perhaps a deleted scene?
The sex, whilst somewhat explicit, was never gratuitous, and there were a couple of uncomfortable scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. Whilst I certainly never got involved in anything like this as a teenager, I found I was reminded very strongly of the amoral thing I once was, and rather grateful, in fact, that I was never given the choice that these girls are offered in the film. The lack of any real analysis of their actions only serves to make these teens more convincing in my view - what teenager really considers the consequences of their actions before taking them?
My recommendation: Get hold of a copy of this film, grab yourself some popcorn, and watch it through, and be prepared for some introspection afterwards.
The film starts out slowly and then hits a few highs along the way, giving us a share of strong, controversial and provocative moments. As we see the story unfold, we are not quite sure when the dangerous and tragic moments are coming. They are expected, but they are not quite as obvious as one expects. Little by little, we see the girls lose control of their enterprise, as each person's agenda begins to threatens the good of the group. Personalities begin clashing as the quiet and demure realizes she doesn't have enough strength to continue. In the opposite end, her sister is taking more and more dangerous assignments, and all of this emotional turmoil begins to prove too much for the head of the club.
In the end, things work out but not that smoothly, and not without a couple of gigantic crises along the way. It is shocking at times, and there are a couple of lulls along the way that almost derail the film, but it is a movie that shows a side of teens that has probably never been shown before. It will make you think.
It is an audacious concept: babysitting teenagers are acting as high pay prostitutes for the fathers that drive them home. I felt that the high school teens were much too eager to have sex with strangers and that the wives were terrible if they didn't smell anything suspicious. In the end it all comes down, as it would be expected, but it unravels the complex feelings underneath in the process. The girls are all beautiful, Katherine Waterson plays great; John Leguizamo again brings great quality to a movie; the direction is really good. While the film has a great story to tell, I felt that the script was a bit naive.
Bottom line: it is a tensioned, raw even, autopsy of the real suburb feelings: the taken for granted wives, the ignored teenagers and the powerful urges of the overworked middle aged men, overlooked by their spouses.
First time writer/director David Ross creates a world where seemingly every man is a depraved, sex obsessed creep. One such man (the most "normal") is Michael played by John Leguizamo who is going through the proverbial mid-life crisis. Married with two young boys he begins and illicit affair with the babysitter, Shirley played by Katherine Waterston. She is a tall brunette who is smart, beautiful and has good business sense. When Michael tells his friends about Shirley's "services" they want her to babysit for them to. So she gets a few of her hot friends to help out and all of a sudden she is running a prostitution ring and getting a 20 percent cut.
She tells us in the beginning that she is a regular girl from a non dysfunctional family and has never been abused or anything. She just likes the money and giving head isn't any more humiliating than flipping burgers. There is no morality in this film and the main characters realize this as Shirley mentions to Michael that they're both going to hell for this. The most outright uncomfortable and disturbing scenes take place in cabin when all the middle aged married guys get together with all the under age babysitter prostitutes. Everybody has taken ecstasy, and bad things start to happen. During a bathroom scene we shocked back to reality as to what these people are doing. This is really the only point where we see any consequences from this whole ordeal.
So if you happen to find yourself bored one night, grab a few beers, a bag of chips, lock the door and watch "The Babysitters".
1. All Men Are Pigs – Every male character in the film is portrayed in the least flattering light possible. John Leguizamo's character, arguably the most understandable, if not likable, is an indifferent father who floats along in his marriage and his affair choosing paths of least resistance every time. Even Brenda's teen brother Scott, who starts out as a shy and endearing character quickly becomes a judgmental little creep.
2. To Cheat or Not To Cheat – Michael and Gail Beltran do a poor job in addressing the problems in their marriage. Michael seems to be the partner who makes the attempt to confront their issues but it's a halfhearted attempt at best and is easily swept aside by Gail running off to an unscheduled NA meeting. No wonder when Michael strays!
3.Women Are Greedy and Backstabbing – Nadine certainly is but she's the primary one with this foible and she already seemed to present as a pampered spoiled bitch anyway! Hardly deserving of elevation to a central theme in the film!
4. If they're Old Enough To Die For their Country – How old is old enough? To me, this is the central theme of the film. Justice vs. the Rule of Law. Our society has established an often arbitrary and almost always capricious series of numerical boundaries to substitute for common sense and fairness under our law-based system. Its okay to enlist and die for one's country at 17 but you can't have a legal drink at 20. Practically every county had its own BAC limit until the federal statute was forced down everyone's throats mandating the .080 limit. It's illegal to photograph the bare buttocks of a 17-year-old but a flesh colored thong is okay on a 10-year-old. We've executed teens at 16, 17, and 18, but whether you were eligible for the death penalty depended on where you committed your crime. You can hire an 18-year-old to shoot a porn movie in your garage but pick up a 17-year-old in a bar drinking on an illegal ID and you go to prison. While I disagree with Shirley about the similarities between paid fellatio and burger flipping, I find I am loathe to condemn her efforts at earning extra college money if I am forced to use as my only basis for condemnation the potential legal consequences for her clients.
5. Don't Do Drugs - Hmmm Maybe this is an anti-drug movie since they're portrayed as being at the root of the Beltran's marital problems as well as a primary precipitant in Brenda's breakdown and the decline and fall of the babysitters company.
Definitely worth a nod, I give it a solid '8' almost a '9'! I do know that I'm already looking forward to Ms. Waterston's next effort.
Almost every act committed by those in the film is immoral, illegal, or a terrible mixture of the two. Grown adults, ranging from lonely elderly perverts to unhappily married businessmen, purchase time with teenage girls running a prostitution ring disguised as a babysitting business. The film attempts to focus on the internal struggle of both the men and girls involved, but does little to form any kind of moral compass along the way. As the movie progresses, you grow to dislike the greedy ringleader as well as the married men her clique sleeps with.
Due to the lack of a leading protagonist, we are left with no one to cheer for. The only thing to look forward to is some kind of justice, some kind of reprehension or punishment for the acts committed. That does not happen. The ending is, to say the least, highly disappointing and resolves no questions nor concludes the movie properly.
This is the kind of film that demands a satisfying ending, but in the end, the viewer is left with more questions than answers. As far as we know, everyone involved manages to forget about the ordeal and move on. Perhaps the viewer should do the same with this film.
The story in "The Babysitters" is about a young girl who babysits for a family, and whilst driving her home in the evening, the dad invites her in to a diner for something to eat. Here they come to talk and a spark is set off between them. The dad ends up having sex with the babysitter. Eventually his friend finds out and wants in on the deal, and the babysitter bring in her friends to help servicing these adult men who have wives and kids. And business is good for the 'babysitters'.
Storywise, then "The Babysitters" doesn't really blow you away - pardon the pun. The story is good enough in itself, although it does deal with a taboo subject, so the movie may not be suitable for just anyone.
What made the movie watchable was the acting in the movie, because people really did great jobs with their given roles and characters. And also the characters in the movie were really fleshed out nicely and in great detail.
"The Babysitters" is a story- and character-driven movie, so don't expect the movie to get up into a fast pace at any given moment.
If you enjoy dramas that deal with issues that are not common day events - controversial events you might say - then "The Babysitters" might be just the right movie for you.
The film was billed as a dark comedy on my local cable channel. It was dark, yes, but it was a stretch to find anything to laugh about with teen girls being exploited by not only their father's peers, but by each other.
For me, it could have succeeded as a study of serious moral dilemma, but the characters were far too superficial and there was little insight provided into their behavior.
The Babysitters is an excuse to watch braless teens bounce across the screen, nothing more. And sadly, I'm afraid this probably many people's cup of tea.
I'll be honest – even before I started to watch 'The Babysitters', I wasn't feeling great about it. A decent cast of good but unimpressive actors; a handful of sexy girls there to just be sexy; and a play on that lovely babysitter fantasy. It was destined to be failure.
And, well, it's a failure.
It's a failure mainly because it's so predictable. It was clear to see where it was going, and writer/director David Ross never really challenges our expectations – if anything, he goes out of his way to make sure everything goes as we imagined it would. Very boring.
Another problem is that Katherine Waterston (playing central character Shirley), as gorgeous as she is, just isn't a very good actor. If you're going to base your film around a young actor, that actor better be good, and we didn't get that here. She's not absolutely awful, she has her moments, but nothing sustained enough to make it a performance worth investing in. The big name in the film is John Leguizamo. I liked his character, and the man is obviously a fantastic actor, but he's wasted here. Similarly, Cynthia Nixon is barely there, and doesn't have a lot to do.
I feel I should balance this out with a positive from the movie, but I'm at a loss as to what that might be. If I would praise anything, it would be the performance of Lauren Birkell, as Shirley's best friend Melissa. She is the kooky, quirky one, and does it very well. It's a spirited performance, the kind of performance someone gives when they're doing best to get noticed. But it's one shining light in a badly-made film.
'The Babysitters' is watchable, but you're not going to enjoy it too much. If you're happy to put up with a boring script if it means you get some lovely eye candy, please do watch this, as you get a healthy dose of both things. If you like your films, y'know, good, avoid it.
Fortunately, I found a way to watch it, and what I saw was more than what I expected. This is the exactly the type of movie that I like. I immediately added it to my favorite list.
It's a bittersweet movie that left me with a heavy aftertaste. Despite it's flaws, I think it's perfect. Everything fits together and though everything doesn't end well, it does justice. I'm torn about Shirley and Michael's relationship though. I wish they could have ended up together, it's be a happy ending for Shirley but it wouldn't be for Michael's family. Oh well. I guess Adult-Teen romance will seldom find a happy ending.
I give the movie 2 thumbs up.
The only issue I have with this movie was the pairing up of John Leguizamo and Cynthia Nixon as a married couple. Individually, they play their parts quite well, however, they do not have much on-screen chemistry. And maybe I grew up in a different time, however, some of the teens' actions seem unbelievable. There perhaps should have been more contemplation or hesitation, even for a teen. Especially when some of these older men are not attractive, at all. Yet, this movie certainly and successfully does make one think, what if?
I would recommend watching this movie, definitely worth your time.
What high school doesn't have security cameras in it? How many 16- year-olds are willing to sleep with 40 year old men in one high school? What high school keeps all sorts of paint and such around for kids to just grab? What man with a wife and two kids keeps three hundred bucks of totally disposable income in his wallet three to four nights per week? How dumb are these wives to not pick up on any of this? Kids break into a school and the cops don't come, but John Leguizamo stands near a train track and his wife freaks out that he might get arrested? How does a girl with OCD decide it's a good idea to destroy a school? For that matter, how does that same girl use the vandalism of the school to threaten her wayward hookers? "I threw paint on your lockers. Don't f*** anyone without my permission or next time it won't be paint." "Well, you smashed in the trophy case. That'll teach me to keep my legs closed." And on and on.
The idea was a pretty good one. This movie had a lot of potential in it for something gritty, chilling, and dark. As a finished product, however, it seemed to just be some indie schlock that was trying for profundity and wound up falling face-first into some dad's lap.
So the movie begins as just another slice of urban life, parents go to work, kids go to school, and some of the girls get babysitting jobs in the evening. But then one man in his 40s gets sweet on his babysitter. She is taken completely by surprise at his advances, but soon relaxes and enjoys the attention. She is surprised when he gives her a wad of money for her "babysitting", $200 in all.
So he gets hooked on his young lover and after a few $200 nights she realizes this can be profitable for her and a select few of her close friends. The word spreads from guy to guy, the price for the "babysitting service" goes up to $300. The girl who organized it all gets her 20% and soon business is in full swing.
Of course there has to be a downside to all this, and that is the moral of the whole movie, teenage girls in high school can't get into the prostitution business without some competition and finally some breakdowns fueled by guilt.
Overall it is well made and well acted. The daughter of veteran actor Sam Waterston is the lead girl, and the only one who bares her chest during the movie. Even though the story involved "underage" girls, in reality they were all in their 20s, and the Waterston girl was 26 during filming.
Michael (John Leguizamo) and his wife (Cynthia Nixon) are falling into routine, and she is not interested in his hobby. His job is becoming a bore. He and the babysitter (Katherine Waterston) fall into an illicit relationship.
Soon, Shirly (Waterston) gets her friends into babysitting for $200 a pop and takes a cut.
One of the girls (Louisa Krause) wants out and things go to hell.
Waterston was really good, and I always enjoy Leguizamo in anything he does.
Overall, I'd say that the movie is worth seeing, although you certainly have to have a long attention span. Also starring John Leguizamo and Cynthia Nixon (of "Sex and the City").
The most moving and romantic sequence in this movie is the scene at the cabin in the bathroom. Brenda (Louisa Krause) is high off her bottom on ecstasy and almost gets taken advantage of. LAWLS! but then she says "mom" twice which makes her abuser grow a big rubbery one. The final scene in which Shirley finds her Dad with his pants down with a sixteen year old was the perfect wrap up to this heartfelt story of love.
I can surely say with confidence that this timeless classic will go down as one of the best family-oriented pictures of the century. I highly recommend this to children and rapists alike.
The film looks like it would be soft porn, but it is not. There is one nude scene with Katherine Waterston that is the extension of the DVD cover. The sex was watered down also. The drama of teen girls was on the boring side. This was clearly a missed opportunity.
There was a theme of everything and everyone in their place, and when one thing gets out of place it causes a domino effect.They should have gone back to it. Or a clip of a ketchup bottle placed wrong.