Directed by David Gordon Green, The Sitter is probably the movie you’re expecting. It is a big ol’ slice of R-rated clichés, of course, and there are no surprises. It packs a pile of 80s babysitting movie platitudes into its relatively slim form, too, giving it a sort of predictable sweetness that actually makes it somewhat endearing in the end. Somewhat.
This is a Jonah Hill vehicle. It will please those who enjoy the whole “swearing and doing bad stuff in front of kids” genre that seems to be rearing its head with this flick and other movies, like Bad Teacher for instance. There’s little by way of actual substance and the comedy is rickety at best. Your enjoyment will depend on how funny you think blatant stereotypes are.
Hill stars as Noah, a boorish good-for-nothing who does nothing with his life save for giving really good oral sex to his “girlfriend” Marisa (Ari Graynor). Marisa is the annoying sort, complete with that raspy voice that some girls do on purpose because they think it’s sexy and the unnaturally sexual dialogue. Noah lives with his mom and alternates between being an insolent chump and a cuddly teddy bear jammed full of sweetness. He’s eventually lured into taking a babysitting job for Mrs. Pedulla (Erin Daniels).
The kids are Slater (Max Records), Blithe (Landry Bender) and Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez). They are a handful, but Noah ends up bringing trouble their way after Marisa calls up wanting some cocaine. Not wanting to be a jerk, Noah makes arrangements and winds up accidentally ripping off a drug dealer (Sam Rockwell) after Rodrigo accidentally steals a bunch of cocaine. The hijinks take the gang all around town and from party to party as they run from the drug dealing gang.
The Sitter is the sort of movie that is weighed down by its delusions of gross-out grandeur. Green’s flick wanders around rapt with itself and the envelopes it thinks it’s pushing, but there’s nothing distinctive going on at all. Sure, the kids get to say bad words and there’s some violence and whatnot to pass the time. Nevertheless, this is a flat and predictable comedy.
The kids play their respective roles as punching bags and/or occasions for the film to send various social messages through the mouth of Jonah Hill. Slater, for instance, is apparently struggling with homosexuality as a 13-year-old and gets a morale-lifting speech from Hill’s character at just the right moment. This is only slightly diluted by the brawny homosexual stereotypes floating around.
Same goes for Blithe, the Pedulla’s peculiar little girl with a desire to be a Paris Hilton-esque celebrity. This is laid on pretty thick, with the lass saying “hot” like it’s going out of style and caking her face in ludicrous make-up. She wants to be “famous,” but Noah tells her just how void that sort of life is and how those people who are famous for being famous don’t have “real jobs.” Point taken.
Rodrigo provides the break for some racial humour, so The Sitter really gets to tag all the bases. He is from El Salvador, which is indicated mostly through the playing of portentous Latin music whenever he takes the screen. He also likes to blow up commodes, which of course comes in handy later on. How he manages to blow up a diamond store is a mystery to me, though.
With the kids serving their roles as rant recipients and Hill fumbling around with his pseudo-awkward bravura, all that’s missing is the other love interest to even the ship out due to Marisa’s crappiness. Oh wait…