In the summer of 1987, Adventures in Babysitting garnered cult classic status along with The Lost Boys, Dirty Dancing, and The Princess Bride. Starring Elisabeth Shue as the babysitter who is forced to embark on a reluctant adventure from the suburbs into the city with three kids in tow, the original Adventures in Babysitting still ranks number two on IMDb’s most popular films of 1987.
As it seems there isn’t an original idea left in Hollywood, it only stands to reason that Adventures in Babysitting would be primed for a remake. Ironically, it’s the remake that is being touted as the Disney Channel‘s 100th original film. And while Shue’s babysitting adventures were full of encounters with criminals, love interests, and a breadth of laughable moments, the difference between its PG-13 rating and, the new Babysitting is much less adventurous as it is given its full Disney Channel G-rating treatment.
The new Adventures in Babysitting tries to create its own story based on a similar premise of the original. Instead of one babysitter, however, we have two–Jenny and Lola. Jenny and Lola are competing for a photography internship when they accidentally end up switching phones. The two inevitably end up combining their kids and babysitting adventures to track down one of the kids who has run off to the big city for a concert. Apparently it takes two actresses to fill the babysitting shoes of Elisabeth Shue.
Starring Girl Meets World co-star Sabrina Carpenter, and Descendants star Sofia Carson, the new Adventures in Babysitting obviously included the Disney darlings with the hope that it would appeal to already established viewers of the channel. According to Entertainment Tonight, however, the Disney Channel had reportedly hoped this version of Babysitting would appeal to current batch of millennials and their parents alike.
There are plenty of nods to the original Adventures for parental nostalgia’s sake, such as a bus driver with an eye patch, a clean faced babysitter in a tan colored coat, and the kids taking the family SUV (basically the updated version of a station wagon) without permission. But because it was given the Disney treatment, this Adventures in Babysitting lacks the comedic edge that made the original work.
There’s no subway ride in which a gang member pulls a knife and says through gritting teeth, “Don’t f*** with the Lords of Hell,” only to be intimidated by the babysitter herself who classically responds, “Don’t f*** with the babysitter!”
Instead of being forced to sing the classic “Babysitting Blues,” the two stars enter into a ridiculously lame rap battle.
As opposed to the creepy mafia mastermind that chased Elisabeth Shue, these criminals are the typical Disney Channel bumbling idiots like an American version of Jasper and Horace from 101 Dalmatians.
And probably the biggest missing element was the lack of inclusion of a wise-cracking, slightly perverted best friend so aptly played by a teenaged Anthony Rapp in the 1987 version of Adventures. Rapp would go on to become a pop culture icon in his own right as an original member of the Broadway cast of Rent.
Disney Channel‘s version of Adventures in Babysitting, however, is not without its highlights. In an updated version of girl power, the tough cookie character who was enamored with a Thor-like character played by a young Vincent D’Onofrio in the original looks to a roller derby queen for her inner inspiration in the new version. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Disney film if it didn’t also include a little girl who aspired to dress like a princess. And the two babysitters whom start out as competitors rally together in the end, proving that girls don’t always have to be caddy and conniving to undermine each other.
Even still, while the stars told E! that they had caught the original Adventures on Netflix, they and the creators seemed to miss the point. This Adventures in Babysitting lacks the actual adventure that gave the original its edge. But perhaps that should’ve been expected when it was declared a Disney original.
Even original cast member Keith Coogan showing up at the premiere couldn’t have saved this adventure.
— Nikki Hahn (@missnikkihahn) June 24, 2016
[Image via Disney Channel Official Facebook.]