Caren Weiner
March 22, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Though made for the big screen, on video this adaptation of the popular book series feels like a slick after-school special; it involves seven adolescent girls dealing with their exasperated neighbors, snobby rivals with breasts, and Heavy Issues like diabetes and divorce. The girls are astute, serene, and dress like Seventeen models. Yet The Baby-Sitters Club respects their problems, allowing conflicts to play out naturally (despite a goofy rap-music scene). It’s no accident that Club feels like a junior misses’ thirtysomething — its TV alumni Melanie Mayron directed, and Peter Horton appears as a divorced dad — and it conveys the same message: In the end, your friends are your family.

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