Cert: 15 Runtime: 81 mins Director: David Gordon Green Starring: Jonah Hill,Max Records, Landry Bender, Kevin Hernandez, Ari Graynor and Sam Rockwell
Need a Sitter?
This was going to be a silly comedy, it was clear from the first trailer. Jonah Hill is known for eccentric comedies The Sitter now being one of them.Noah (Jonah Hill) is a layabout who is lured into babysitting three children for his mom’s friend so they can go to a party together. The kids are sexual confused Slater (Max Records), the pint sized fourth Kardashian Blithe (Landry Bender), and the rebellious Latino Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez). What kind of children are these? They’re not normal children. They feel like real people shrunk down to fit pint sized kids. Regardless, their roles aren’t at all funny.Soon after arriving at the job and discovering the chaotic duty behind it, Noah’s girlfriend Marisa (Ari Graynor) calls asking him to deliver her cocaine at a party and she’ll reward him with sex. Noah tries to get cocaine, but Rodrigo winds up stealing an egg full of cocaine, costing Noah over $10,000.Then it becomes a race against time for Noah to collect the money before the coke baron kills him, blah blah blah blah blah
“The Sitter” was more than likely an attempt by Hollywood to see how well Jonah Hill did as a leading comedic actor, and not just the fat sidekick character. And while his performance is what it is, the real flaw here is not with Hill’s performance, but with the storyline (or lack of). Let me paint a picture. There is no storyline!!! In maybe the most idiotic plot since “Cowboys & Aliens”, Hill plays random loser/nice-guy, with zero potential as a human being, Noah Griffith. Noah has a girlfriend that treats him like garbage. His mom asks him to take a job as a babysitter, babysitting a motley crew of the most one dimensional children put on the big screen since 2010’s “Grown-Ups. He takes it for seemingly no reason. Noah makes some inexplicably horrid choices, again for seemingly no reason, which result in some of the cheapest slap-spick comedic scenarios of the year and at the end of the night he learns a lesson, but not really. That’s it. No action in the movie has any justification behind it. This movie simply powers forward through a rolodex of shrug inducing jokes, totally disregarding the fact that the audience probably isn’t laughing. The storyline has absolutely no direction. As Noah takes the children on a drug run (because the script deems it so) the audience is bombarded with cocaine in the face jokes, followed by an ill-conceived sentimental moment, followed by a man’s groin being set on fire, and then back to the grossly overplayed sentimentality. It just doesn’t flow at all. This script is so bad, that there was even a point in the middle of this movie where Noah has an epiphany that acknowledges (out loud) his girlfriends true feeling towards him, which should have altogether halted his quest to see his girlfriend (or the entire point of the film) and ended the movie. BUT NO! The plot moves forward despite this game changing revelation; and why? Conceivably, because Green, as a director, didn’t catch or wish to acknowledge this egregious plot-hole in the script. So, the audience must sit through the final forty-five minutes of “The Sitter”, as if that scene never happened.
With a script as half-assed as this seemed to be, one would assume that the characters throughout are bound to be just as problematic. And that brings me to the children. The children here are so underdeveloped that they aren’t even people, they are simply emotions used to move the razor-thin plot along. A bratty little girl who uses foul language (yeah, that would have been funnier if I were seven), a super emotional pre-teen boy whose storyline attempts to become sentimental, but verges on borderline homophobic, and a stereotypical Latin kid who thinks he’s Scarface, does not a film make! And as for those sentimental moments, they are truly the most cringe inducing aspect here. I’m sorry, but any movie that would have Jonah Hill giving out sappy life lessons is doomed for failure. But again, Hill wasn’t the worst part of the film. The fact is, without Hill’s likability as a lead actor, “The Sitter” would have been unwatchable.Final Thought: In the last few years Green seems to have developed a compulsion to only make terribly unfunny and bland comedies, which center around pot-heads. But the biggest punch-line of these films are how Green holds actual directors credits, yet there seems to be no direction to any of his movies. It is simply a shame that Hill chose this film to show that he could carry a lead role in a comedic film. And while he does carry this movie, with the help of Green and two hack writers, there isn’t much of a movie to carry. In the end, “The Sitter” is the film equivalent of buyer’s remorse, whereas it looked incredibly funny from the trailer, but is just the opposite once you find yourself sitting in a rather silent and rather packed theater for an unusually lengthy 81 minutes, wishing you could ask for a refund.