At 17, high-school junior Shirley Lyner is thinking about college and running a babysitting service that provides teen call girls to the dads of young children. In a long flashback, we see what brought her from being a babysitter to organizing and running the service. It starts with Michael, the father of children she baby-sits. A cup of coffee on the way home from his house, a night visit to a train yard, and one thing leads to another. Shirley can be ruthless, and tension builds when some of the clients take the girls to a mountain cabin and bring drugs. Then, one of the girls tries to freelance. Can this end well: is it a tragedy in the making? Do we all have secrets? Written by
Shirley Lyner. I'm a junior at Alfred E. Groves high school. This is my babysitting service. The answer is no: mom doesn't drink, dad didn't hit me, Uncle Steve never showed me his privates. I don't even have an Uncle Steve. The money is nice, and paid fellatio isn't that much more humiliating than flipping burgers. But that's not why I do it.
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Boring, predictable, and full of uninspired performances
After she ends up having sex with one of her customers, a teenager decides to turn her babysitting job into an illicit escort agency, with herself and her friends as the call-girls. Things are great at first, but the reality of the situation she has put herself and her friends in starts to take its toll.
I'll be honest even before I started to watch 'The Babysitters', I wasn't feeling great about it. A decent cast of good but unimpressive actors; a handful of sexy girls there to just be sexy; and a play on that lovely babysitter fantasy. It was destined to be failure.
And, well, it's a failure.
It's a failure mainly because it's so predictable. It was clear to see where it was going, and writer/director David Ross never really challenges our expectations if anything, he goes out of his way to make sure everything goes as we imagined it would. Very boring.
Another problem is that Katherine Waterston (playing central character Shirley), as gorgeous as she is, just isn't a very good actor. If you're going to base your film around a young actor, that actor better be good, and we didn't get that here. She's not absolutely awful, she has her moments, but nothing sustained enough to make it a performance worth investing in. The big name in the film is John Leguizamo. I liked his character, and the man is obviously a fantastic actor, but he's wasted here. Similarly, Cynthia Nixon is barely there, and doesn't have a lot to do.
I feel I should balance this out with a positive from the movie, but I'm at a loss as to what that might be. If I would praise anything, it would be the performance of Lauren Birkell, as Shirley's best friend Melissa. She is the kooky, quirky one, and does it very well. It's a spirited performance, the kind of performance someone gives when they're doing best to get noticed. But it's one shining light in a badly-made film.
'The Babysitters' is watchable, but you're not going to enjoy it too much. If you're happy to put up with a boring script if it means you get some lovely eye candy, please do watch this, as you get a healthy dose of both things. If you like your films, y'know, good, avoid it.
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