Adventures in Babysitting: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime with the 25th Anniversary Edition of Adventures In Babysitting, starring Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue.  Experience all the laughter and excitement in a whole new way on Blu-ray with a sensational new digital restoration!   When Chris Parker (Shue) agrees to babysit, she expects a night of TV…and boredom.  But when her frantic friend calls and pleads to be rescued from a downtown Chicago bus station, Chris and the kids pack up and leave their safe suburban surroundings for the heart of the big city.  It’s a frighteningly funny expedition no one will forget!


17 year old Chris Parker (Elizabeth Shue) is looking forward to a romantic anniversary dinner at a fancy restaurant.  Her college-age boyfriend Mike Todwell (Bradley Whitford) shows up at the door with an excuse about a sick sister, leaving Chris with nothing to do that evening.  The Parker’s need a babysitter and Chris reluctantly takes the job watching 15 year old Brad (Keith Coogan) and his younger sister Sara (Maia Brewton).  Sara is a Thor fan and spends much of the movie idolizing and talking about the greatness of Thor.

Chris’ friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) is unhappy with her home life and has joked about spiking her step-mom’s Tab with Drain-o.  On this night, she has run away from home and calls Chris from the bus station.   The cab ride took all of Brenda’s money and she is desperate for help.  Chris at first refuses, saying she can’t take the children or her mother’s car into the city, but a man at the bus station flashes a gun and Chris heads out the door.  Chris makes the children promise never to tell about their excursion into the city and they are forced to bring teenage neighbor Daryl along so he doesn’t tell.

Along the way, Chris tells a scary story about a man with a hook terrorizing a babysitter and children.  At the climax of the story – the tire blows.  Stranded on the side of the busy highway Chris realizes that she has no spare tire and has left her purse and all her money behind.  A friendly tow truck drive John Pruitt, stops to help.  He offers to tow the car to Dawson’s garage and replace the tire free of charge.  The scary part about Mr. Pruitt is the hook where his hand used to be.  Chris says she can’t possibly accept his charity and he says he can’t leave them stranded in good conscience.  On the way to the garage he gets a call that his wife is cheating on him and he heads home to confront her and the other man.

An argument turns to a shootout and the kids flee into the cheating man’s car for safety.  Unfortunately they don’t notice the man in the front seat in the process of stealing the car.  Chris asks the car thief, Joe, to let them out and he says he wouldn’t get out in that neighborhood.  Joe drives to the chop shop to take care of business and then he promises to help them get home.  Joe’s bosses aren’t happy to see the kids and they put them in an upstairs room where Daryl finds and steals a playboy.  There happens to be a woman in the playboy who looks like Chris.  When they sneak out with the playboy, Daryl doesn’t know the car thieves have important information written in the magazine, and they come after it.

The adventure continues as the kids have to sing their way out of a blues club and then get stuck in the middle of a gang fight on a train.  Next they stop by a random frat party to use the bathroom and meet a cute, sweet guy (George Newbern) who likes Chris and helps them get to Dawson’s garage.  At the garage, they meet Dawson (Vincent D’Onofrio) who Sara believes is Thor.  Dawson refuses to give the group their car because they are short on the bill.  Sara pleads with the man she thinks is Thor.  Sara realizes Dawson doesn’t have his helmet and she gives him her plastic Thor helmet.  Dawson then gives up the car and the kids are on their way to pick up, poor Brenda.  Sara leaves thinking she was right and Dawson really is the superhero Thor.

Headed for home, Chris passes the restaurant that her and Mike were supposed to be dining at and sees his sports car parked outside.  She finds him inside with another girl and realizes how clueless she has been about this man.  While everyone is distracted by the cheating boyfriend, Sara slips away and is spotted by one of the car thieves, who chases her into the very building her parents are in.  The adventures continue and include a precarious climb clinging to the exterior of the building and a dramatic rescue.  Finally the kids head home in time to clean up the house, jump in bed and pretend like nothing exciting happened that evening.

As I said, the adventures in Adventures in Babysitting are unbelievably implausible.  This isn’t the type of movie you should spend any time thinking about.  If you do, you’d probably come to the conclusion that the kids would have been murdered on the side of the road and it would be a 20 minute movie.  Has this been real, everyone who helped the kids was more likely to kill them or sell them into prostitution but that doesn’t make the kind of adventure I want to see.  Everything about Adventures in Babysitting is extremely dated – from the cars, to the clothes and I find it charming.  It often makes me think – oh yeah I remember the 80s.  The acting is not overly cheesy and I love seeing a young Vincent D’Onofrio in his small role as Thor.


I did expect a little more clean up on the video exhibition for the 25th anniversary edition.  The 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 ratio presentation has digital noise and other issues but I did easily ignore when enjoying the film.  Overall, the film just doesn’t look like it aged well.


Adventures in Babysitting is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.  Subtitles are available in English SDH, French, and Spanish.  The audio provides nothing spectacular to brag about but is sufficient for a film of its age.  The dialogue is clear and consistent which is the most important factor to me but audio is front centered and not what I expect from 5.1.


I’m sad to see this is a bare bones release with no special features.


My overall rating is severely diminished by averaging in a score of 0 for the lack of special features.  It’s a solid 3.5 star movie otherwise.  With all the superhero movies these days it’s interesting to see Thor mentioned back in the day where many who didn’t read comic books were unfamiliar with the character.  Clearly, Sara was ahead of her time with her plastic Thor helmet.  I love the 80’s and probably most of Elizabeth Shue’s movies, with Adventures in Babysitting being one of my favorites.  Don’t think too hard about how realistic the story is.  Accept that it’s a silly plot and enjoy!

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