The Babysitters: Reductive, Painful Fun
Used to be that babysitters only solved mysteries or got caught in the middle of Mafia deals. Now they're charging $200 to eat a cock-meat sandwich. How did we get here? So wonders a comatose Shirley (Katherine Waterston), pert brown nipples trying to break on through to the other side of a wafer-thin white top, and as The Babysitters leaves the Ecstasy-laden party that the teenage madam organizes for her clients and backtracks to the fateful day when Michael (John Leguizamo) sowed her groove thang, the obsessive- compulsive high-schooler asserts: "Sometimes I do stupid things. I don't know why." Like her, David Ross's film parses the rise and fall of a babysitters'-club-cum- prostitution-ring with a near-unwillingness to bust a brain cell, though nuts get a considerable workout. As Shirley introduces her posse of Junos and Heathers to the townies, the occasional social commentary rises to the surface—Ross repeatedly acknowledges the way middle-aged pervs appeal to the insecurities of young girls—but these glints of insight are as colorlessly sketched as the $20 bills that Shirls stuffs under her mattress. Ultimately, the film's view of female self-loathing and girl-on-girl exploitation is as woefully reductive and painful as the it's-all-fun-and-games- until-your-dad-gets-in-on-the-action capper and the propensity for Desperate Housewives–style summarizing.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.