Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Adventures in Babysitting takes place in Oak Park, Illinois when high schooler Mike Todwell stands up his girlfriend. She then agrees to babysit Sara Anderson instead. Sara’s brother, Brad, has a crush on Chris, and decides to stay home with them instead of staying the night at his friend, Daryl’s house. When her friend, Brenda, calls to tell her she decided to run away, she already regrets it. She then asks Chris to come get her at a bus station in downtown Chicago.

Chris makes a deal with Brad and Sara to go, but Daryl overhears them, and blackmails her into letting him go with them. Once on the freeway, Chris gets a flat tire before realizing that she left her purse at the house. After a mechanic stops and offers to take her car to his garage, Chris sees no other option. She accepts the offer, and the real adventure around Chicago begins.

‘Adventures in Babysitting’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Adventures in Babysitting (1987)Adventures in Babysitting begins with seventeen-year-old Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) inviting her friend, Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller), over to her Oak Park, Illinois home. Chris’ a bit sad that her boyfriend Mike (Bradley Whitford) cancelled plans with her on their anniversary. Her mom then convinces her to babysit the Anderson’s 8-year-old daughter, Sara (Maia Brewton), so they can attend a party in downtown Chicago.

At the Anderson house, fifteen-year-old Brad (Keith Coogan) is supposed to spend the night at his friend Daryl Coopersmith’s (Anthony Rapp) place. However, when he learns that Chris is the one babysitting his little sister, he changes his mind. Once there, Chris receives a frantic phone call from Brenda who’s is at a bus station in downtown Chicago. She decided to run away, but already wants to come home, and needs Chris to come get her. Chris plans to go pick her up alone, but winds up taking Brad, Sara, and Daryl with her after a little blackmail.

As they drive on down the freeway, Chris’ station wagon gets a flat tire. Soon the tow truck driver, Handsome John Pruitt (John Ford Noonan) picks them up, but Chris forgot her purse at home. Pruitt offers to pay for the tire, so Chris really has no other option but to agree.

On the way to the garage, Pruitt’s boss, Dawson (Vincent D’Onofrio) calls him to tell him that his wife’s cheating on him. Pruitt rushes home with the kids in his truck to confront his wife. Once there, he pulls out a revolver, and tries to kill his wife’s lover. He misses, but takes out Chris’ car’s windshield instead. Chris and the kids take refuge in the lover’s Cadillac. However, a thief named Joe Gipp (Calvin Levels) car-jacks it.

They arrive at a South Side chop shop, where the operation’s second-in-command, a man named Graydon (Ron Canada) yells at Joe for bringing witnesses to the place. He sticks the kids in an upstairs office where Daryl steals one of their Playboy magazines to replace his dad’s that Brad threw out a window earlier. The kids then cross some girders to escape the shop. Unbeknownst to the kids, that Playboy contains some incriminating evidence against the little gang, and they want it back!

They wind up in a Blues Nightclub where the band they run into on stage won’t let them leave until they sing the blues. Once the four tells the room the events leading up to that night they are able to go. Lucky for them too! They exit just as Graydon, Joe, and Graydon’s boss, Bleak (John Davis Chandler), show up for the magazine.

Now seems as good a time as any for Brad to tell Chris that he like likes her, but she doesn’t feel the same towards him. As they continue on, they soon come across a runaway streetwalker who reminds Chris of Brenda. However, there’s no time to reminisce as Greydon and Bleak show up again.

The kids escape on the Chicago “L” train, but somehow wind up in the middle of a gang fight. One of the gang members throws a knife into Brads foot, so now they have to head to the local university’s hospital for stitches. They find Pruitt’s there, but he’s on the run from his earlier craziness. He has some good news for them though—he replaced Chris’ windshield. However, his boss still wants $50 for the tire which he’s no longer agreeing to pay for.

The kids leave the hospital, and stumble upon a fraternity’s house party. Chris meets one of the frat boys named Dan Lynch (George Newbern). When he learns of Chris’ dilemma, he gives her $45, and takes them to Dawson’s garage before dropping them off.

When they meet Dawson, Sara convinces herself he’s the superhero Thor with his blond hair and sledge hammer. However, he refuses to turn the car over because they are $5 short. Sara offers her toy Thor helmet to make up the difference, and her cuteness wins him over. He gives them the car back.

Meanwhile, Joe’s told Bleak what he knows about the kids, and they, along with Graydon, are waiting at the garage as well. Now that the car’s fixed, they can finally pick up Brenda, and then return home safely, correct? Nope! The kids head to the restaurant where Mike was going to take Chris originally, and find he’s there…with another girl.

Of course Chris yells at Mike for standing her up, while Brad and Daryl help ruin his dinner. As this goes on, Sara’s left them to go look at a nearby toy store. They don’t see her leave, but Bleak’s there, and he does. He sends Graydon after her where she runs into an office building to hide.

Finally the others notice she’s missing, and go to find her. However, they accidentally come across the party the Anderson’s are attending as Sara climbs out an open window. When she slides down the building, Chris spots her and runs inside to help.

The kids get Sara back inside the building when Bleak shows up to confront them. By this point though, Joe’s sick of the crime business, and he knocks Bleak out cold. He then gives him back the Playboy magazine that Daryl stole. Now that Bleak has it, they all should be safe…maybe.

Finally Chris arrives to get Brenda, and they all head home before the Anderson’s make it back. Chris cleans up a little mess there before acting like nothing happened the whole night right as the Anderson’s return.

When Chris says goodnight to the kids, Brad tells her he understands about her not feeling the same way he does about her. He says it’s okay if she ignores him at school when they see each other. She smiles, and replies that she doesn’t ignore her friends.

Chris leaves to go home, but Dan shows up with one of Sara’s missing skates. He says he’s in need of a babysitter, but is a wee bit disappointed when she replies that she’s retired. When he reveals that the baby sitter was for him, she decides to postpone that retirement for a bit. The two kiss as Sara and Brad look on. Brad sadly closes the blinds to give them their privacy.

We are treated to a Marvel style post-credits scene where Graydon still stands on the ledge of the building—looking for a way back in.

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Touchstone Pictures released Adventures in Babysitting on July 3, 1987. Chris Columbus directed the film starring Elisabeth Shue, Maia Brewton, and Keith Coogan.

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