The subject tackled in The Babysitters would seem to be ripe for digging into — mundane suburban life coupled with the risks that people take to inject their lives with a little excitement. It could have been an intriguing combination of the rebellious nature of the teens in Thirteen and the banal suburbanite life in American Beauty.
Unfortunately, we do not get anything approaching the level of those two films. Instead we get a sketchbook version that implies high school girls are thirsting to become prostitutes, and married men are all too willing to dive into the dangerous waters of cheating with underage girls. The Babysitters is content to dwell on the surface, never digging into the meat of why these people do what they do.
As the film opens, we catch our first glimpse of Shirley (Katherine Waterston, daughter of Law & Order star Sam Waterston), our primary protagonist. She walks, in slow motion, through a room filled with other young girls accompanied by older men. She tells us this is her babysitters group. Time backs up and we are reintroduced to Shirley, honors student and all around intelligent girl. To make money she babysits and one of her clients is Michael Beltran (John Leguizamo).
Trouble begins because Michael is feeling the crushing weight of work and suburban life, coupled with a nagging wife, Gail (Cynthia Nixon). So, as Michael is driving Shirley home, one thing leads to another and the two become intimate. Feeling guilty, Michael gives her $200, and Shirley sees it as a way to make some quick money. Before long, Michael tells Shirley that a friend of his is interested in some "babysitting" services, asking if she has a friend who may want to do it. This turns Shirley into a business manager with a team of girls working jobs for her, of which she collects 20% of their earnings.
That is pretty much it, Shirley pimping out her friends to these married men looking for a thrill. The plot does not get much deeper than that. We do get some competing pimp work, when one of the girls starts taking side jobs, leading to Shirley's management skills being put to the test, as well as a fateful "party" with all of the involved parties going away for a weekend.