The Sitter Movie Review
Noah (Jaybird) Griffith is a suspended college student who gets guilt tripped by mom into babysitting three hellions after the regular sitter ducks out. Things take a different turn when Noah’s mooch of a girlfriend calls for some party favors and insists he find Karl the drug dealer in downtown New York.
I remember watching ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING as a kid and really digging the whole “crazy night out with the kids” idea, but then again, it was a fresh concept. Nowadays we’ve seen more than our fair share of comedies featuring (insert known actor’s name) and kids. To be honest, the only memorable title that comes to mind is FOUR ROOMS, that skit with Tim Roth watching Antonio Banderas’ kids was priceless. THE SITTER showcases the same sort of ride, holding nothing back, delivering some solid laughs and a fun adventure despite being bogged down a bit by dramatic elements. I’d still sooner have Elisabeth Shue as my babysitter, but Jonah Hill would definitely be my second choice.
Director David Gordon Green may not be a huge household name, but when it comes to R-rated comedies the man has style. PINAPPLE EXPRESS was awesome and YOUR HIGHNESS was entertaining if you knew what you were committing yourself to. Green knows how to integrate just enough action into his laughs to keep the pace moving and that’s something I really enjoy in a comedy. There isn’t nearly as much action here as there was in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, but there are a couple cool car chases, a sweet diamond heist, a scrap or two and some gunplay. The pace does play a little give and take with its themes though, from drug use (expected) to dealing with a kid whose gay (not so expected). There’s also some adultery and daddy issues, but thankfully these things are presented in a believable fashion and handled with proper care all things considered.
When it comes to the storyline and dialogue, this is a true to form Jonah Hill flick and if you’re a fan of his you’ll love it. He’s a character actor and plays the role of “crass loser with a heart” down to the letter. That said, for a dude down on his luck, he ends up doing rather well with the ladies and hoodlums alike. I loved the side story about the urn and where it takes him, but most of all I was loving Sam Rockwell as Karl the eccentric drug dealer. Everything about his character, from his hangouts to his over-the-top Facebook addicted dialogue were solid gold (I particularly love the hugs). The other surprise here comes from the kids, these guys were awesome. The chemistry between Hill and the rug rats was money, and they all had just enough back story and individual quirks to make me care at the end of the day. The unfortunate side to that coin being that this does steal some of the film’s comedic momentum.
THE SITTER holds its own as an R-rated comedy, but sadly doesn’t provide enough pep or memorable laughs to surpass any of the bigger gems of the past few years (though I will admit Soul Baby was a memorable character I won’t soon forget). Hill outdid himself on the promotional end of things with a hilarious intro to one of the trailers and then going as far as putting a live number on the poster that he answered in character or as himself. The film itself should have focused more on Noah and the situation (with the kids) rather than on the kids in the situation. Don’t get me wrong, I liked how Noah helped each kid overcome their demons, but doing so sacrificed some of the laughs and make me feel all emotional instead of happy (FUNNY PEOPLE is a prime example of this). It’s still a funny film and I dug how they were willing to push the envelope, I just think they steered it in the wrong direction.