30 Movies in 30 Days: Adventures in Babysitting

Had I seen it before: No.

What IMDb says: A babysitter must battle her way through the big city after being stranded there with the kids she’s looking after.

Requirements fulfilled: 

– No new requirements fulfilled

Why I picked it: My wonderful boss recommended it. And she’s pretty cool and likes pretty cool movies.

What I liked about itI am in awe of how much stuff happens in this movie without it ever becoming confusing.There are so many moving pieces to this plot and it’s fascinating to watch them unfold. And I say that as one of those annoying people who says crap like “I usually prefer character-driven stories to plot-driven stories.”

Looking back, this plot is complicated enough for Avril Lavigne to write a song about it but I never felt like I was unable to follow it. It works because yes, there are a ton of conflicts that come up throughout the movie, but most are solved before the next one unfolds. It would’ve been really easy for a movie like this to lack focus but instead it solves one problem, quickly establishes a new one, and we’re off on another adventure. They got just the right rhythm to the story.

Let’s start at the beginning. Within the first fifteen minutes here are the conflicts established:

  • Chris wants to go out with her boyfriend, but can’t because his sister is sick. (Established at 2 minutes and 37 seconds)
  • Brad has a major thing for Chris, but she is his babysitter. (Established at 5 minutes and 54 seconds)
  • Chris’s friend Brenda has attempted to run away from home, but has run out of money and is stranded at the bus station in the city (Established 12 minutes and 33 seconds-ish.)

So just like that, we have groundwork we need to understand why our main characters will make the decisions they will make throughout the movie. And we didn’t need no stinkin’ voiceover to do it either.

Things quickly escalate into all-around ridiculousness but this is a good thing. When you’re greeted by a hook-handed tow truck driver around the 21-minute mark it sets this precedent where you just kinda say “sure, let’s go with this” as more and more crazy stuff happens. It reminded me of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in this sense. Both movies have a ton of off-the-wall unrealistic adventures but you’re never really rolling your eyes and saying “ugh, this would never happen.” Why not? Because both movies told you right up front what to expect. It’s a much better approach than attempting realness and abandoning it halfway through.

The movie also does a wonderful job of writing in tiny details that later become major plot points without ever being too on-the-nose about it Brenda’s seemingly generic bitching about her stepmom turns into Brenda’s trying to run away. Daryl mentioning that a girl in Playboy looks like Chris seems like pretty standard dialog for a high school freshman boy but oh how relevant this will be later.

What I didn’t like: I’m not really sure to tell you the truth. It was a fun movie.

Would I watch it again: Hell’s yeah. And I’m taking notes on this plot structure too.


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