The surprise hit Adventures in Babysitting was what catapulted Elisabeth Shue from throwaway roles, like Ralph Macchio's girlfriend in The Karate Kid, to the status of legitimate teenybopper star with a fitness for light comedy. In fact, until her Oscar-nominated turn in Leaving Las Vegas, this breezy adventure constituted Shue's most recognizable accomplishment, which may say more about her subsequent choices than the cinematic durability of her babysitter extraordinaire. Still, a good escapist potboiler like this tends to stick in the memory, especially when it's spiced up by preteen crushes and an infectious candy-coated sensibility. Like many other formulaic comedies that exceed the modest goal of supplying inoffensive family entertainment, Adventures cruises along on a combination of smart writing, energetic directing, and, perhaps most important, performances that are effortlessly familiar. As co-screenwriter and director, Chris Columbus bears a hefty responsibility for whatever lingering charms the film has, as it builds pleasingly on the child-themed adventures he penned in Gremlins and The Goonies, as well as previewing his Home Alone movies. In the capable hands of Columbus and Shue, babysitting has never been less mundane.
by Derek Armstrong review