|December 9, 2011|
|David Gordon Green|
|20th Century Fox|
Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and some violence
What should you expect from a film that opens with its lead actor going down on his pseudo-girlfriend (pseudo as in she doesn’t like labels unless she wants something)? The answer is a raunchy ride through a night of debauchery titled The Sitter. Noah (Jonah Hill) is a college dropout living with his mother, with nothing better to do than to babysit his mother’s friend’s (mother’s hot friend’s) kids. The kids are, of course, a hand full, but instead of the kids causing the problems that must be fixed, Noah has enough of his own problems to get them involved in.
As with any nighttime romp into the underworlds of a big city, when a dinosaur egg of cocaine is taken from a local cocaine dealer named Karl (Sam Rockwell), all hell breaks loose. What follows is a comedic-adventure reminiscent of films like Martin Scorsese’s After Hours and the 1997 teen comedy, Trojan War, complete with car chases, daddy issues, corrupt cops, homosexual middle schoolers, and even a haphazard love story tossed in.
What sets this film apart is the cast and the comedy that ensues because of them. Jonah Hill has found his niche in comedy as the smart-talking ranter. His long, off-the-wall comments to the characters around him make for some hilarious moments. In particular, his conversation with a seedy bar bouncer creates some truly priceless one-liners. I have seen uncut footage of Hill on the sets of his comedic films and his on-the-fly comedy style is actually quite impressive.
Sam Rockwell, as always, plays the perfect villain, reminded me of his performance in Charlie’s Angels, as he chases Jonah Hill around New York in search of the money that is owed to him. The lengths that Noah goes to find Karl’s money is nothing revolutionary, as the writers follow the same logical lines that almost every get-out-of-a-jam film tends to pursue.
The acting from the children is hit-or-miss. The moments that project the most from them are the sincere, one-on-ones that each has with Noah, bringing to light the issues that each uniquely face. Also, the moments where they say something completely unexpected, like young Blithe (Landry Bender) singing lyrics to songs that she should not know the meanings of. The pyromaniac Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez) tends to take the plot as over-the-top as it gets, and could have easily been done without. The rest of the cast is simply filler, besides an enjoyable cameo by Method Man.
David Gordon Green has taken to these filthy comedic genre films (Pineapple Express, Your Highness), straying away from the buzzworthy, dramatic pieces that he started his career with (All The Real Girls) and though these raunch-fests tend to be borderline on the ridiculous, occasionally these films find a way of being just crazy enough to work. Chalk full of cliches and explicit behaviors, with Jonah Hill at the helm, The Sitter produces enough laughs to score a win in my book.