The Babysitter (Guy Ferland)

Rating: 2.0

Film Forum rescued THE BABYSITTER from straight-to-video hell, but don't 
ask me why; a Blockbuster shelf is right where this clunker belongs, next 
to numerous other well-intentioned but mediocre efforts.  Attempting to 
walk the exceedingly thin line between arty psychodrama and cheap 
exploitation, it falls with a resounding thud to the right (that is, 
wrong) side of the conjunction.  (Read it again; it's tortured, but it 
makes sense.)  It's not half as clever as it thinks it is (or as numerous 
New York critics seem to think it is); the characters and the dialogue 
are equally hackneyed, and the constant shifting between reality and 
fantasy is clumsily predictable, as if Sid Sheinberg had recut THE 
DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE.  Alicia Silverstone, gamely  
attempting what is essentially a dual role, radiates star quality 
whenever she's asked to project good-natured innocence; when she tries to 
act sultry and seductive, however, what she radiates is embarrassment.  
(Reportedly, she nixed all of the script's nude scenes; unfortunately, 
this is one of the rare instances in which a lot of "gratuitous" nudity 
would actually be appropriate, and the primness of the fantasy sequences 
ends up subverting the film's theme.)  I hate to contradict the wonderful 
folks at Film Forum, but THE BABYSITTER will probably play better on 
your TV screen, in front of which one's expectations are generally 
switched to 'Low.'