Around this time every year, I celebrate director Chris Columbus Day. I get some food, sit back and relax while I look back at something from his classic filmography. This year, I decided to go all the way back to his directorial debut, Adventures in Babysitting. Does it hold up?
Chris Parker is stuck babysitting the Anderson kids. What should be an easy night turns crazy when Chris’ friend Brenda needs help and a ride home from the city. As the babysitter and the Andersons head to get Brenda, they run into a one-handed truck driver, car thieves, and street gangs in what promises to be a wild night.
Adventures in Babysitting came out in 1987. It is directed by Chris Columbus with a script from David Simkins. While not a smash hit, the movie has gone on to have a cult following. Columbus had already written some scripts for some hit films such as The Goonies and Gremlins. This was Simkins’ first produced script but he would later go on to write for shows such as Charmed and Dark Angel.
The thing that this movie has going for it the most is its charm. The lead characters are very well-written and likable which makes us care more about them when they go on their adventure. Elisabeth Shue is great as Chris. It can sometimes be difficult to play the straight-edge character while also being vulnerable and comical. Shue is able to handle everything thrown her way. It would have been so easy to have her character be one-dimensional but as she goes on this journey she is able to learn about herself and be a full-fleshed character. The studio originally wanted Molly Ringwald to play Chris but I’m happy they went with Shue.
Although at times the things the characters go through seem highly unplausible, they are never boring which leads to an easy watch. One of the highlights is Maia Brewton as Sarah. She is obsessed with Thor and carries around his helmet and hammer. Her reactions and dialogue are easy some of the best.
The soundtrack is also great throughout with a catchy tune from Blues legend Albert Collins, who also appears in the movie. We also get some early performances from Bradley Whitford and Vincent D’Onofrio.
Overall Adventures in Babysitting is a small yet highly entertaining movie. It helped Columbus land future projects that would make him a household name. It is a fast-paced film that doesn’t overstay its welcome. The movie may not be one of Columbus’ most talked about films but it is definitely one worth checking out.
Adventures in Babysitting is available to watch on Disney Plus.