Albert Collins: Some guys are out to get 'em, and the girl's probably dead. She ain't got a nickel.It was just a simple babysitting job, Gone Horribly Wrong.Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) finds herself with nothing to do after her boyfriend breaks off their scheduled date, so she agrees to spend the night babysitting the Andersons' children Sara and Brad.Then her friend Brenda calls in a panic about running away from home but then changing her mind, and asks Chris to pick her up in the city. Chris can't leave her charges behind unsupervised, so she takes them and Brad's friend Daryl along with her. She gets a flat on the highway en route, then realizes she forgot her purse. Things just get more crazy from there.Chris Columbus' directing debut, and the first starring role for Shue, this 1987 comedy was also the first PG-13 film released by Disney (albeit under the Touchstone Pictures label, to avoid the association with strictly family content).Incidentally, John Hughes had absolutely nothing to do with this film, although many mistakenly assume he did due to its teen protagonist, Chicago setting, and Hughes's later collaborations with Columbus.The Disney Channel produced a Lighter and Softer remake in 2016. Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) leads a (much) younger cast as the film's babysitter. Tropes specific to that production go here.
Kids: And we should be in bed!
Albert Collins: And you outta luck.
Kids: And we should be in bed!
Albert Collins: And you outta luck.
This Film Provides Examples Of:
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: A MacGuffin being a Playboy, where Chris is the spitting image of the centerfold, some borderline offensive jokes and a Wild Teen Party would be enough, but a couple quick exchanges of the F word were enough to get that PG-13. Though they did have to cut out another scene to keep the rating (see below).
- Badass Longcoat: Chris rocks one throughout the whole movie.
- Blind Without 'Em: Brenda. Oh, Brenda.
- Book Ends: "Then He Kissed Me" plays on the soundtrack at the beginning and end.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Sara has her moments.
- Broken Pedestal:
- Sara is heartbroken when Mr. Dawson (who looks exactly like Thor, her hero) turns out to be a Jerk Ass and won't let them have the car because they're $5 short. Good thing he turns out be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold instead.
- This is Chris's reaction when she discovers that her boyfriend is a total sleaze.
- Butt-Monkey: Brenda.
- Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Sara seems to believe Thor is real; of course, she is a child.
- The Cameo: Blues musician Albert Collins as himself.
- Catch-Phrase: "Ya think?"
- Caught in the Bad Part of Town: This is what happens to Chris and the kids. Her car suffers a flat tire, stranding them on the South Side of Chicago. In getting out, the encounter a variety of locals, both helpful and hindering. Meanwhile, Brenda suffers a similar experience stuck in the downtown bus station.
- Chekhov's Gag: "Stray Dog." Also, Daryl loses the Playboy he presumably stole from his dad. Also "Nobody leaves this place without singin' the Blues." Also... actually, it would probably be quicker to list the gags that aren't Chekhov's Gags.
- The City Narrows: The bus station, where Brenda saw three people shoot up, a bald Chinese lady with no pants, a homeless man who lives in the telephone booth she's trying to use, and a guy who keeps showing her his gun.
- Country Mouse: Just suburban, but otherwise the same.
- Covers Sort Of Lie:
- They don't scale a skyscraper, as the poster shows, but Sara finds herself stuck outside of one in the climax.
- Also, Chris doesn't wear the skirt (or shoes) seen in the poster, either.
- The international version◊ of the poster removes Maia Brewton completely and replaces her with George Newbern (who is also scaling the building, for some reason) to focus on the romantic element of the story...which is only a small part of the movie.
- Easter Egg: According to an interview with actor Keith Coogan, Elisabeth Shue is actually in the frat party scene as two simultaneous people—both as Chris and as a random girl wearing a black cap and sunglasses. This was so that she could dance as an extra while other angles were being filmed.
- '80s Hair: Quite common, as the film was made in 1987...
- Even Evil Has Standards / Would Not Hurt A Child: Although they are both criminals and work for the Big Bad, both Joe and Graydon make it clear through their body language and overall demeanor that while they're okay with trying to get the magazine back, they aren't going to hurt any kids in order to do it. Graydon in particular, when he sees that Sara has climbed out the skyscraper window and is clinging precariously by her fingertips, is clearly horrified at how much danger she is in and wastes no time trying to save her. To his credit, when he has no other options to get to her he climbs out the window himself.
- Evil Overlooker: On the Japanese poster.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The entire movie takes place over a matter of hours, from the late afternoon to a little after 1 AM.
- Good Samaritan: "Handsome" John Pruitt; while his Simple Plan to tow Chris' car to his garage and even pay to replace the tire does go awry, he makes partial amends for it later, even with the police after him.
- He Didn't Make It: Subversion:Brad, thanks to Mistaken Identity.
- Heel–Face Turn: Joe Gipp.
- He Knows Too Much: That Playboy issue had a bunch of notes the gangsters scribbled down...so much, in fact, that it would send them to jail.
- Hook Hand: But he's a nice guy, usually.
- I Can Explain: Yup, Chris's boyfriend was NOT doing what he claimed he was. He was with another girl. Although, he doesn't even try to explain. He just doesn't care. Chris dumps him, and ends up with a different guy by the end.
- Identical Stranger: "Shaylene" the (fictitious) Playboy centerfold that supposedly looks like Chris. (Of course, seeing as the viewers only see it briefly, we can only Take Their Word For It.
- If You Taunt Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Double subversionBrad: <<grabs Mike by the collar>> I’d love to hit you. I’d love to pound your face.
Mike: Yeah, go ahead.
Brad: <<lets Mike go>> But I won’t. You’re so slimy, I won’t sink to your level.
Daryl: I will. <<kicks Mike in the ass>>
- Jerk Ass: See above descriptions of Mike.
- Loony Fan: Sara is a big...nay, HUGE Fangirl of Thor.
- Little Miss Snarker: Sara.
- Mama Bear: Chris, especially on the train, dealing with the gang members.Gang leader: Don't fuck with the Lords Of Hell! (After he throws his switchblade down into Brad's foot.)Chris (yanks the knife out of Brad's foot and points it at the leader): DON'T FUCK with the BABYSITTER!!!
- Market-Based Title: This was released in Britain as A Night On The Town.
- Monochrome Casting: Obviously intentional in the case of the jazz bar.
- Offscreen Inertia: Although it can be presumed the police eventually brought him back in and arrested him along with his boss, at the end of the movie the gangster who climbed out on the side of the Smurfit-Stone building to get Sara and the Playboy is shown still out there, clinging to the glass in terror...
- One Crazy Night: In what should be an hour-long trip to the city and back to pick up her runaway friend, Chris and the kids she's baby-sitting get a flat tire, witness an attempted murder in a domestic dispute, get pick up by car thieves, get into a gang fight and meet Thor. Possibly the trope codifier.
- Potty Emergency: Sara suffers a potty emergency that causes Chris and the kids to crash a frat house party in order to use the bathroom.
- Precision F-Strike: Two in two successive lines, resulting in the movie's PG-13 rating. See above.
- Pretty Fly (For a White Guy): The suburban white kids wow the cynical inner-city black audience with their improvised blues song. Though maybe they're just getting props for working under duress (what, exactly, happens to those who refuse to comply with the order to sing the blues?).
- Pretty in Mink: A teenage runaway in a white fur jacket, Mrs. Anderson has a black mink coat, and Chris uses a full-length coat with a huge collar to sneak into the office party the Andersons are attending.
- Random Events Plot: Chris' friend Brenda runs away, has to have Chris pick her up, the car gets a flat, they get picked up by a truck driver with a Hook Hand, who is pretty nice until he finds out his wife is cheating on him, they end up getting in a car while it's getting stolen... It just goes on and on. See A Simple Plan below.
- The Remake: A kid-friendly version for The Disney Channel. Originally conceived as a "follow-up" titled Further Adventures in Babysitting, the "Further" was dropped from the title and it became a straight remake/reboot. The MacGuffin was changed from a Playboy magazine to a ferret(?) and the film's famous line "Don't FUCK with the babysitter" was changed to "Don't mess with the babysitter".
- Running Gag: The Playboy centerfold.
- Shout-Out:"All right, it's quittin' time at Tara!"
- A Simple Plan: All Chris is trying to do is drive herself and the kids into the city, pick Brenda up, and drive back.
- The Stinger: See Offscreen Inertia above.
- Terrifying Rescuer: Chris's car gets a flat, leaving her stranded on the side of the expressway. She is understandably frightened when a huge truck pulls up behind her and a hulking figure with a Hook Hand gets out. But this turns out to be tow-truck driver "Handsome" John Pruitt, who offers her a free tow to Dawson's Garage.
- They Really Do Love Each Other: When Sarah goes missing Brad, and even Daryl are genuinely concerned about her, and are visibly relieved when she is saved from the window.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer pretty much walked the viewer through the film's main events, including the climax at the Smurfit-Stone building, then actually showed the parents returning home and Chris sitting on the couch, safe and sound. "Any problems?" they ask, to which she casually responds, "No, not really.". Kinda destroys the tension.
- Urban Legend: Chris is telling one to the kids while heading to the bus station. About the guy with the hook. Guess what the helpful tow truck driver who rescues them a few minutes later is sporting.
- Wicked Stepmother: Brenda says her father's new wife is this, although the credibility is questionable. Either way, the tumultuous relationship with her stepmom is why Brenda tries running away from home.
- Worst Aid: CHRIS PULLED THE KNIFE OUT OF BRAD'S FOOT! (Okay, it was a toe, the wound only required a single stitch, and she pulled the knife out not in an effort at first aid but in order to defend him and herself from a gang. But the scare where the ER doc confused them for asking about a different patient and told him "their friend" was dead, when Brad was actually just fine, may have been a bit karmic).
- Wrong Guy First: Mike
- Your Cheating Heart: Chris' lowlife boyfriend cancels their date on the anniversary of their first one to go out with another girl, and Chris goes through hell as a result.
- Younger Than They Look: The prostitute. Or so she claims.