Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekend with the Babysitter (Don Henderson, 1971)

Taking place on land, in the air, and out on the high seas, for a movie that is reputedly about spending the end of the work week with a spur-of-the-moment childcare provider, the characters in Weekend with the Babysitter seem to rack up a lot of travel miles. Motocross dirt is shredded, alpine snow is stepped upon, and rickety piers are scaled, everything except the act of babysitting seems to transpire in this busy film. Misguided nitpicking aside, an older gentlemen actual does spend an extended period of time with a female teenager who did intend on watching some brat (there was a scheduling error). So, the title isn't misleading; I just didn't expect it to be so action-packed. Either way, the irrepressible Don Henderson and the wishes he was debonair George E. Carey (the geniuses behind the 1969 barn burner The Babysitter), have re-teamed to give us this hep tale about middle-aged squareness coming face-to-face with the era's new brand of cool. Movie producer Jim Carlton (Carey) and his actress wife Mona (Luanne Roberts) are fighting about absurd nonsense like they always do, when suddenly, their inordinately sexy babysitter, Candy Wilson (Susan Romen), arrives at the door yearning to babysit. Only problem is, neither of them had called her. Jim sees this snafu as an opportunity (why waste a sitter?) and asks Mona if she wants to go out to dinner. She rejects this idea, explaining vehemently that she already has plans.

Leaving Jim all alone with the tautly bodied Candy, the two talk about his latest film script. She thinks the youthful dialogue is phony and invites him out to see how real young people interact. Opening his eyes to the world of psychedelic rock, ganja usage, and motocross, Candy introduces the button-down Jim to a totally different outlook on life. Mona, on the other hand, it turns out, is in cahoots with a gang of heroin pushers.

An addict herself, Mona is pressured into letting her drug dealing associates "borrow" Jim's boat in order to smuggle some smack from Mexico (no boat, no fix is their sales pitch).

With Mona strung out and in deep doodoo at sea, and Jim canoodling with Candy and learning how to smoke reefer with a group of friendly hippie bikers sporting names like, Mary Mary (Gloria Hill), A.K. (Bob Bernard), and Snitch (Steve Vinovich), how will the day be saved? I mean, there's no way Jim can save Mona. Well, for one thing, I wouldn't underestimate Jim. If there's one person who can bang the babysitter while rescuing his junkie wife from a trio of dangerous drug fiends, it's Jim.

A middle-aged fantasy taken to the extreme, George E. Carey has created a sort of square superhero in Jim Carlton. Giving him the ability to master any kind of motorized vehicle at the drop of a hat, Mr. Carey has made himself out to be the envy of an aging generation. The carefree manner in which his character was able to adapt to the hippie way of life must have been an inspiration to those on the brink of doddering in the audience.

While not as wonderfully perverted as The Babysitter, the titillation factor in Weekend with the Babysitter is still quite strong. You only have to look the film's apparent obsession with motorbikes, May-December romances, drug use, and lesbianism to the realize that Don Henderson is the one calling the shots. Unfortunately, all the time spent out on that boat was kinda tedious (despite Annik Borel's scintillating drugged out dyke schtick), and the trip to the mountains was a tad too showy. Come on, man, what am I doing here? Watching a thoughtful travelogue or a sleazy exploitation picture?

Sexy without even trying, Susan Romen is a visual treat as the ubiquitous Candy Wilson. Sure, she's nowhere close to being as impish as Patricia Wymer was in The Babysitter, but Romen does have a refined charm about her, especially when she's walking around in those knee-high boots of hers. Actually, to be honest, I found some of her yammering about the wonders of being a hippie to be self-important, and the constant blank look on her face didn't exactly inspire confidence. That being said, her uninteresting facial performance did make this film a pleasant waste of time.



  1. What's wrong with a "thoughtful travelogue"? :p

    Wow, I had no idea of this franchise of quasi-pornographic babysitter movies.

    Yeah, sorry about Sally. I'll have an Oscar entry later this week, probably.

  2. Ooh, "quasi-pornographic." I like the way that expression rolls off the tongue.

    I'm strangely comforted by the fact that you were previously unaware of this franchise.

    Even though I haven't seen her film yet, I'm throwing my support behind Melissa Leo.