The Babysitters **1/2
Directed by David Ross
David Ross' directing debut "The Babysitters" has a really hard time choosing what it wants to be, and it crosses dark dark dark comedy with dark dark dark drama, leading to an enjoyable first act, a creepy and uncomfortable second act, and then it kind of falls apart in the end, which brings almost no closure to the film whatsoever. When the screen went black I actually raised my hand a bit in confusion. Now I love a dark comedy more than anything, especially these high school dark comedies-I'll say the usual "Election" and "Heathers," and I'll also add the under seen but very funny "Mini's First Time," which had a minor release in summer of 2006.
"The Babysitters" stars Katherine Waterston, who seemed to have lost about 20 pounds between the filming of this and now, as Shirley. Shirley is an average junior in high school getting ready for the SAT, and getting ready to have to pay for college. When she gets a job babysitting for the children of Michael Beltran, played by John Leguizamo, she becomes smitten by him, and they of course end up sleeping with each other. She is inspired by the idea that she gets when he begins to pay her for the babysitting services, and she comes up with the idea to get a crew of young girls to be babysitters, and then on the ride home the sleep with the fathers. And the best part is, Shirley gets a cut everytime. Now there are the lighter scenes at the start, but slowly the film gets darker and darker, as this idea begins to get strong consequences-the normal ones that you would guess with a plot like this.
I liked the idea of the film, and I liked the earlier scenes. Eventually the movie steers of course and becomes far to heavy considering what an odd plot it was. It got the point where I had a hard time watching it, especially a scene on a young girl/father "retreat" where they end up screwing each other all night. I guess this is where the girls begin to wonder if what they are doing is right, and the drama starts, but the minutes before are just a little too much. It's not pleasant to watch, and I couldn't even relate to anybody in the first place. And then the final scene, when Shirley begins to realize what she is doing, comes so out of left field and was an example of such forced irony that I was not satisfied with the ending at all. I guess the best part about the ending is that everyone ends up getting their own little bleak conclusion. but hopefully they all learned something. There is some decent acting here, and Leguizamo is very good. I find it hard to see Katherine Waterston making it any higher than small indie films, but you never know. I can see this movie maybe getting a release as small, if not smaller, as "Mini's First Time." It's quite a dark dark and dirty film, but I've seen better dark comedies in my day.