The Sitter (2011)

Comedy
Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, Sam Rockwell, Max Records
A college student on suspension is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door, though he is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him.
With its recycled plot, misguided gags, and formula performance from Jonah Hill, The Sitter adds up to another disappointing entry from director David Gordon Green.
  • 20th Century Fox Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 09 Dec 2011 Released:
  • 20 Mar 2012 DVD Release:
  • $30.5M Box office:

Trailer:

Predictable, cliché, and unfunny2/10
So let's get this straight: The Sitter is about to be released featuring the round and portly Jonah Hill we've become familiar with over the years, but he's lost a considerable amount of weight and almost looks like a completely different person these days? That won't be confusing to some people at all. Truth be told, I liked Jonah Hill there for awhile. I laughed really hard at Superbad, Grandma's Boy was a lot better than it first let on, and Get Him to the Greek was pretty solid as well. Not to mention How to Train Your Dragon being spectacular. The problem is outside of films like Moneyball, Hill basically has Vince Vaughn syndrome and plays the exact same character in everything. It could come down to character acting, but it gets to the point where you see somebody do the same shtick a dozen times and you just want to see if they're capable of anything else. Director David Gordon Green is on the same boat. I keep hearing how solid his first directorial efforts are and Pineapple Express is one of the best R-rated comedies in recent years, but everything since has just been so disappointing. The Sitter won't be the film to shatter what you've come to expect from Jonah Hill and David Gordon Green either.

You pretty much already know the basic story of the film: a guy who hates kids has to babysit three of them and everything you could possibly imagine to go wrong does in the worst ways imaginable. Blithe (Landry Bender) is a little girl who's obsessed with becoming a celebrity and just wants to go to clubs, dress up, wear make-up, drink and eat whatever famous people consume, and sing along to songs a girl her age probably shouldn't. Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez) is the adopted kid of the family and likes to destroy things for no reason while having a particular fascination with cherry bombs. Then there's Slater (Max Records) who is convinced he can't function without the medication in his fanny pack since he thinks he's beyond repair.

The Sitter becomes very predictable. The three kids constantly clash with their babysitter throughout the film until they eventually warm up to each other and go from there. Jonah Hill spits out a few semi-entertaining one-liners amongst all the mayhem. There are several weird bonding scenes between the kids and Noah though. Noah has a heart to heart talk with both Blithe and Slater, but Slater is the one to step in and try to set Rodrigo straight. The scenes come off as a little awkward because they feel kind of forced. There's a drug dealer named Karl (Sam Rockwell) chasing them and Noah is trying to get to a party to try and get lucky with his sort-of girlfriend Marisa (Ari Graynor). Would you take a time-out to make a kid feel better if you owed a drug dealer ten grand by midnight with your life on the line? The entire adventure becomes incredibly cliche and is basically an R-rated version of most of the babysitting movies you've seen previously. Despicable Me, Mr. Nanny, Bebe's Kids, and The Pacifier are probably a few that come to mind. This is another movie whose unrealistic qualities snowballed as it progressed. It continued to get more and more ludicrous as it went on. About halfway into the movie, most of the theater was in hysterics but the entire press row was just not laughing at all. Realizing this made me laugh harder than any material in the movie.

The Sitter is just bad from all angles. It uses a recycled and overused storyline, isn't funny, is unrealistic, and is basically an embarrassment for all of those involved. How in the world did Sam Rockwell become a part of this and what the hell happened to David Gordon Green? The Sitter is the type of movie that lets you know several talented people are involved in the project and yet they still churn out run of the mill garbage to try and make a buck. This is hands down one of the worst movies of the year.
Make Love to the Night3/10
Greetings again from the darkness. Seeing more than 100 new movies every year means strict adherence to the "gut instincts" policy of deciding which new movies to see, and which to avoid. A day after the beat down of "Shame", I was desperate for laughter, so I ignored the gut instinct and headed out to see this new comedy. Unfortunately, my gut was correct, and I am still seeking laughter.

David Gordon Green also directed Pineapple Express and Your Highness, neither my style, but both clearly comedies. Jonah Hill has quite the track record of comedy films (Cyrus), and earlier this year made his first foray into drama with "Moneyball". He has also recently lost a tremendous amount of weight, so this was to be his final "fat guy" comedy.

If you have seen the far-superior "Adventures in Babysitting" (1987) with Elisabeth Shue, then you know the basic premise. Hill does his mother a favor by agreeing to babysit her friend's three kids. This proves more challenging than Hill's character expected. The kids are Slater, played by Max Records (Where the Wild Things Are); Blithe, played by Landry Bender; and Rodrigo, played by Kevin Hernandez. The kids, of course, have various afflictions, phobias and disorders ... but none as off the charts as Hill's character.

Without going into detail, the first scene is horrible and the movie somehow proceeds to get worse from there. There is bathroom humor, a run in with a drug dealer (Sam Rockwell), a bitchy girlfriend (Ari Graynor) and a confrontation with a group of African Americans featuring Method Man. Every scene is predictable and generated no laughter from me or hardly anyone else in the theater. I always say that comedies are most difficult genre to review, because everyone has a unique sense of humor ... but this one just offers so very little.
Get Him To The Greek of babysitting movies.6/10
Look, to seriously review a movie like this or rate it with stars is ludicrous unless you're comparing it to others of its kind ...in which case I would have given it 10 stars. This is a goofy comedy in which you must suspend disbelief continuously. That is all it was meant to be. It's just a babysitting movie, get it? Like all the rest, only it tries to bring a little freshness to the table ...and in my opinion, it does.

It showcases Jonah Hill's amazing comedic talents, and we get to see some really good performances by some child actors too. Yes, it's Hill's signature shtick, but look closely and you'll see incredible timing and a guy who is extremely capable of carrying a movie. There are some good jokes written into it, but the film completely relies on the performances, and I doubt anyone associated with it would disagree (well, let's hope they wouldn't).

In my opinion, most of the comedy works the way it was supposed to, and the few half-way serious moments do too. In terms of its edginess, it seems to up the ante on the simple formula flick that it is. It's safe to say that if it suits your sense of humor and you're willing to go for the ride, you'll have a good time. I wish people would quit over-analyzing movies like this. The bottom line is that the jokes are either your cup of tea or they are not.
A deflated and desperate ride through the formula of chaos2/10
The Sitter is a deflated comedy robbed of all laughs, jokes, and originality. It knows formula well, but doesn't know where to go from there. It also knows how to pick a lovable lead actor who is consistently funny in everything he does. It's the second film to be released by independent filmmaker David Gordon Green this next to Your Highness. Both will earn a special place on my list of worst films for 2011.

Even since Your Highness, David Gordon Green has successfully put me in a state of never-ending puzzlement. Here's a guy that has made back to back acclaimed independent features, and now, chooses to use his time directing lame, directionless comedies without wit or a soul. The Sitter takes an already mediocre premise and refuses to push it off its feet into something more original or fresh. It understands the formula inside out, but proceeds to disregard everything else.

Noah (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 (Record), the pint sized fourth Kardashian Blithe (Bender), and the rebellious Latino Rodrigo (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 (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.

Oh, and I'm not even going to continue from there. The film is relentless in its gags and events, none of them even remotely realistic or the least bit funny. The biggest laughs, in fact, aren't even from Jonah Hill, but J.B. Smoove who you may recognize as Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm. I actually would've adored the idea of him playing the babysitter much more than Hill. Don't you hate it when that happens? In the same movie, you find an actor who is playing the secondary character, but you wind up liking him more than the actor playing primary character and wish the film went through some sort of star reversal? The endangerment of the kids is sickening, the jokes appallingly unfunny, the setups are outlandish, and the sentimentality the film tries to shoot for at the end is deplorable. We just saw a man put these children through hell, he's unapologetic throughout the entire film, and now he wants to make a complete three-sixty and get on their good side.

Is this as bad as Green's Your Highness? It's close. Your Highness at least had the ability to have me stay frustrated for several hours after watching the film. I got over The Sitter's abashed nature quickly, but felt saddened and cheated. I was hoping that Green would seek redemption in the character and everything wouldn't go the way it was supposed to. Green isn't the director who stays inside the lines, so I was hoping he'd make a smarter comedy here.

The Sitter is an exercise is cheap filmmaking. It relies on lackluster stereotypes, recycled jokes, and caricatures to function inside its dead formula. It's a miserable comedic workout.

Starring: Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, Sam Rockwell, Method Man, Kevin Hernandez, Max Records, and Landry Bender. Directed by: David Gordon Green.
This ain't 'Adventures In Babysitting'5/10
-- Ramascreen.com --

THE SITTER is a raunchy comedy that starts out fine but then the humor goes south after 20 minutes into the movie mainly because it has identity crisis, it can't make up its mind if it wants to remain a comedy or if it wants to also be a psychiatric drama. Jonah Hill suddenly turns from a sitter to a child psychologist or a shrink and the laughs stop…

There's nothing wrong with wanting to instill some heart in an R-rated comedy, the first Hangover movie successfully pulled that off with the underlying theme of friendship and solidarity but THE SITTER is bedridden with too many issues, even the 'heart' gets confused. All of a sudden it becomes some kind of public service announcement for 'it's OK to be you'. It suffers from the same disease that victimized Your Highness, also directed by David Gordon Green, the script's got F-bombs to spare for the next century and that's all that the movie relies on.

The three kids have pretty funny and interesting personalities and habits. So for a short while, Hill's clashing with those personalities are good enough to get us engaged, but once those personalities run their course, they don't have much more to offer and so what's left is a series of predictable situations that are usually started or ended by Hill's literally hitting the brakes and that happens way too often.

Hill is a funny man and I think he's proved that with Superbad, Get Him To The Greek, and more. As Noah the sitter, Hill is just a guy who wants to help his mom and impress his supposed girlfriend, the whole deal with the dad who abandoned him showcases Hill's dramatic side that we saw Moneyball but it goes back to the problem of this comedy not being able to stay comedy. Sam Rockwell as the eccentric psycho drug kingpin is mildly interesting but even if he doesn't manage to crack me up. THE SITTER is yet another disappointing work by director David Gordon Green whose 2008 comedy is one of the best pothead movies I've ever seen. I'd rather watch Elisabeth Shue's 1987 film, Adventures In Babysitting a thousand times.