As a child of the ’90’s, Adventures in Babysitting was a big deal. For the unfamiliar, it’s a 1987 comedy classic directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Harry Potter 1 & 2) about a babysitter who takes three kids to Chicago to rescue her friend, leading to an outrageous adventure. The original was produced by Disney’s more adult film label, Touchstone Pictures, and the company has been promising a remake for at least the past 15 years. It’s finally arrives on June 24th as a Disney Channel Original Movie and as the milestone 100th DCOM.
Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) and Sofia Carson (Descendants) headline this update as two polar opposite girls with an interest in photography. Their paths cross at an internship interview where the two accidentally take each other’s cell phones home. Irresponsible Lola accepts a baby sitting gig on behalf of perfect Jenny, who is also babysitting for a separate family. When Jenny discovers what happened, she goes to check in on the other family only to find that their eldest son has snuck out for a night in the city. The two babysitters unite their groups of kids to try to find him and return him home safely, resulting in a night of adventure on the town.
Disney has taken the basic premise of the original film and tweaked everything else to appeal to a younger, more modern audience. Instead of a story about one babysitter who finds herself through a crazy night with two teens and a child, this one focuses on two teens in charge of younger kids learning about friendship instead. The changes aren’t bad, just different. The film also removes any and all adult humor, as the original slid by with a PG rating but today would have been PG-13.
For fans of the original, there are many nods to the Elisabeth Shue film. Sabrina Carpenter wears a tan coat for much of the film, plucking Shue’s iconic wardrobe. A few lines of dialogue are also recycled. In place of a blues concert, the two babysitters stumble into an open mic rap battle. One of the youngest girls also meets her hero while out on the town, although Marvel’s Thor has been replaced with a roller derby star. That particular change confused me, as Disney didn’t own Marvel in 1987 and could have synergized today. In case you’re wondering, nobody makes fun of her hero in this version.
Overall, Disney Channel has produced another fun DCOM that kids will love and adults won’t mind. This one falls more in line with some of the better films the network has produced like Cadet Kelly and Bad Hair Day. Carson and Carpenter have great onscreen chemistry and Disney Channel addicts will love seeing them paired together here, a formula that was previously successful for Princess Protection Program. But to all teens discovering this story for the first time through this version, I only hope it encourages you to check out the original.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.