Friday, August 1, 2008

Review - The Babysitters

A very smart but compuslive high school teenager babysitts for a family and has a fleeting crush on the husband. Her crush quickly turns from a fascination to a business when the two sleep together and he pays her for the service. Word spreads of the babysitting service and more girls are employed. The booming business becomes too much for the young girl as she watches things spiral out of her control.

First time director David Ross in The Babysitters tells a story that trys to have a message, but ends up only being a fleeting memory. The film focuses on Shirley, an intellgent high school junior who looks to be at the top of her class. Shirley portrayed by Katherine Waterston (Michael Clayton), is extremely organized and very quite at first. Her character rapidly develops into a cunning businesswoman that reminds you of a high school version of Heidi Fleiss. Watching her character transformation is compelling, but overall The Babysitters misses the mark in too many other ways.

John Leguizamo plays Michael Beltran, who falls for Shirley while taking her home from babysitting. His character is pivotal, because he opens Shirley to the idea of being paid for sex. Shirley seeing the opportunity, while dettaching herself from the work, moves quickly to gather up other friends to "babysitt" which Shirley takes a twenty percent cut from. Leguizamo's does a decent job of portraying his character does not like the idea that other men are hiring Shirley for "babysitting." My problem with his performance is, his character never really progesses in the film. He has an affair with Shirley and dangles around for the rest of the film. Simply too stagnant!

The Babysitters plays very loosely with the morals that come with being paid for sex. Some of the better moments in the film, deal with the different girls dealing with the first time experience. One scene in particular, during the "babysitting" one of the girls begins crying and screams out, "Mom!" That sobering scene, was one of the only scenes, that really dealt with the fact that these girls are just not mature enough for what they are doing. The film does not look further into the pysche of the teens or for that matter the men, which would have added greatly to the film. Overall, this is some very heavy material which is only grazed over, leaving the viwer unimpressed with the lackluster film.

Finally, The Babysitters was a disappointment. The film looked to be promising and could really deal with some stuff issues regarding sex and teens. Instead the film turns more into a thriller focusing on Shirley loosing control of her business, rather than dealing with the psyche of being a hooker and a teenager. The final scene in the film is so terrible and really sums up the movie as a fleeting thought. The Babysitters is a film that had alot potential, but ends up wasting that possibility on bad story telling.