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Featured DVD Review: Adventures in Babysitting

June 19th, 2016

Adventures in Babysitting - Buy from Amazon: DVD

Adventures in Babysitting

Adventures in Babysitting is the 100th Disney Channel original movie and while it doesn't come out on DVD yet, I'm reviewing it this weekend. Why? Because it debuts on TV on Friday the 24th. I figured it was better to get the review done before it airs and I rarely have enough time to publish a review mid-week. So how does this remake compare to the original?

The Movie

The film begins with Jenny and Lola preparing for an interview for a summer internship with Mr. Vasquez, a photographer. Jenny is very fastidious, while Lola is wild and free. They run into each other at the interview, with Lola mistaking Jenny as an employee and not her final competition. After handing their portfolios to the actual assistant, Jenny and Lola talk a little, but Jenny gets a call from Helen Anderson begging Jenny to babysit tonight, but Jenny is already babysitting for the Coopers. Lola makes fun of Jenny for babysitting, but that changes when she learns how much Jenny makes. When Mr. Vasquez shows up, Jenny and Lola bump into each other and knock their phones out of each others' hands. It's kind of a forced moment, but it doesn't kill the movie. Mr. Vasquez says he wants new pictures after the weekend that showcase a side that their respective portfolios don't show and he will make his decision then. With that, Jenny and Lola leave.

As Lola leaves, she sees a cop, Officer James, writing her a ticket. She can't get another ticket, or her mom will take away her Jeep. First she tries to flirt with the officer to get him to stop writing the ticket. He doesn't stop writing the ticket, but he does flirt back a little. While this is going on, Lola gets two calls, or to be more accurate, Jenny, but Lola has Jenny's phone, so she answers. The first is from Zac, a boy Jenny has a crush on, and the feeling is mutual, at least it was until Lola acting as Jenny accidentally crushes that. The second call is from Helen again. She's in a panic and again asks if Jenny knows anyone who can babysit. When Helen offers to pay double, Lola figures she can get the money to pay for the ticket herself and her mother will never know. Perfect. Except she doesn't know how to babysit.

Lola gets to the Andersons and is introduced to the kids she will be babysitting, including Trey, who is grounded; Bobby, who is trying to win a baking competition and needs to practice; and finally there is AJ, who is upset, because her father isn't able to take her to the roller derby like he promised. Once the parents leave, Lola decides to spend some time in the Anderson's hot tub.

Meanwhile, Jenny has figured out she and Lola switched phones, so after talking to Donna Cooper about the two girls she's babysitting, Emily and Katy, Jenny calls her phone to talk to Lola. However, Lola doesn't answer the phone, AJ does. Lola can't answer the phone, because she's dealing with a fire. Jenny tells AJ not to panic and heads over there immediately, taking Emily and Katy with her. This is great news for Emily, because she has a crush on Trey, but he's gone. He snuck out of the house to go to a concert in the big city. Now it is up to Jenny and Lola, and all of the kids, to go to the city to get Trey before anything bad can happen to him.

Simple, right?

Adventures in Babysitting is a TV movie. That much is obvious. I don't mean this as an insult, but it certainly feels smaller than a theatrical film. There are even parts that feel like commercial breaks. It is also aimed at a younger target demographic than the original was. In the original, the babysitter, Chris Parker has to go to the city, because her friend, Brenda, was stranded there and she feared for her safety. It was a darker movie and the threats the kids dealt with were great. Car jackers, gangs, attempted murder, prostitution, etc. are replaced by a couple of bumbling pet-nappers. I'm not saying this to insult this version of Adventures in Babysitting, but I think it is important for fans of the original to understand the changes before watching this movie.

Does Adventures in Babysitting work on its own terms? Yes. For the most part. Both Sabrina Carpenter and Sofia Carson are very good in their respective roles. Their characters are not deep and there are no challenging character arcs here, but they do a lot with what they are given. Likewise, the kids come across as more three-dimensional than you would expect from a TV movie aimed at kids. The bad guys, on the other hand, are rather flat, while the overall plot is predictable. In fact, just from the quick intros of Jenny and Lola, you know that by the end, Jenny is going to learn to loosen up and enjoy life more and Lola will learn to take her life more seriously. This is exactly what happens.

Overall, the cast delivers and while the writing is predictable, it is still fun. Adventures in Babysitting is one of the better Disney Channel Original Movies I've reviewed.

The Extras

The only extra on the DVD is a 2-minute blooper reel. There is also a fridge magnet that comes in the case.

The Verdict

Adventures in Babysitting is better than most Disney Channel Original Movies and if you are a fan of Sabrina Carpenter and Sofia Carson from their other Disney work, then it is worth checking out when it airs on TV next Friday. The DVD doesn't have a lot of extras, but I think the replay value will be high enough for its target audience, so fans will want to pick it up when it is released.

Filed under: Video Review, Penelope Ann Miller, Elisabeth Shue, Gillian Vigman, Michael Northey, Jet Jurgensmeyer, Sofia Carson, Sabrina Carpenter, Nikki Hahn, Mallory James Mahoney, Max Gecowets, Madison Horcher, Gabrielle Miller, Kevin Quinn, Ken Lawson, Max Lloyd-Jones, Hugo Ateo