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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
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.
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
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.
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 cliché 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.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
-- 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.
As some other reviewers have noted, what we have here is a blatant
rip-off of the 1980s movie "Adventures In Babysitting". I wouldn't have
minded that fact had "The Sitter" been entertaining, but it isn't for
two big reasons:
(1) The characters are extremely annoying. They are foul-mouthed, mean, cruel, and downright stupid at times. I really didn't care if they would succeed in their aims or not.
(2) The movie just isn't funny. There is a mean-spiritness to most of the humor that makes it hard to take. Oh, there are a couple of one-liners that are somewhat amusing, but otherwise the humor is loud and grating.
Although "Adventures In Babysitting" wasn't a great movie, it is Oscar worthy compared to "The Sitter".
As far as comedy goes, Jonah Hill has steadily made a name for himself
as a star in the genre. Personally, his films have always been hit or
miss for me, and I've come to the conclusion that his best work is
reserved for those times when he has a solid, usually more naturally
comedic, actor to support him. With The Sitter, he is already at a
disadvantage; his main supporting actors are children and, for the most
part, his abilities are front-and-center for the entire film, which was
entirely his idea to begin with. The results are mixed at the best of
times and, for the most part, lackluster in general.
What immediately screamed at me about the opening sequence was "trying very hard to get the audience's attention". I won't spoil the scene for those who haven't seen the movie, but you'll agree with me once you do. Before I go much further, let it be known that I am an extremely big fan of lighthearted, irrelevant humor (Anchorman is one of my most loved comedies, for instance), and for the most part these are the sorts of films Jonah fits into. The Sitter tries to emulate the formula of many recent successful comedies in terms of witty one-liners and clever trade-offs between characters, occasionally seasoned with a bit of more physical comedy. It's an old system, of course, and something I've more or less come to terms with as being "the norm" in popular comedic cinema. But what disappoints me about The Sitter is how many times it whiffs on the concepts; seemingly custom-made situations for Jonah's quick, nonchalant wittiness are, for the most part, poorly written and performed. The more action-based comedic portions of The Sitter involve a child with a penchant for explosives and some vehicle shenanigans that are rather uninspired and bland without the accompanying depth of creative dialog and jokes.
At some point, perhaps early on or perhaps towards the end, the movie takes a sudden shift into the dramatic, focusing on Jonah's character's relationship with his father or the troubles with his "girlfriend". These aspects of the film ring as hollow and somehow incomplete in the face of a heavy dose of relatively immature and inane comedy. The character development is far too sparse and, when it does take place, far too blunt and, again, uninspired to merit the delving into such intimate places. What does work, and this surprised even me, is how Jonah's character relates to the children he is babysitting. Being an eternal child at heart, Jonah's connection to his ward's problems feels perfectly natural and, in certain ways, touching to a degree. But ultimately it all feels out of place, like a scarecrow in an empty field; it would have a purpose if only it's surroundings were in better shape.
The whole film moves at an increasingly agonizing pace at it becomes more and more clear that you're actually waiting for something funny to happen. Not to say it doesn't happen; but the consistency is so off that it ruins the entire project. There's a certain level of bland, uninspired atmosphere that permeates the film, oozing out of it like a thick mud you cannot remove yourself from. And when you finally do, when the mood lightens and you actually catch yourself grinning or maybe even shocked to hear a chuckle cross your lips, you raise your foot from the mud...only to find your shoe still stuck in it. Relief turns back into aggravation and, more than anything else, you just want it to end.
Not sure why this movie was made. It seems as if every offensive cliché was abused to the max. This movie made no sense and it questioned the intelligence of every movie goer in the world. The kids were acting as if they were given a concept of a movie child and then allowed by the director to ad-lib (badly). The resolution for the kids problems were so poorly done and the premise made me wish I never got on this ride. The blaxploitation of the 70's seemed to be revived in a gruesome side story which made me cringe. Sam Rockwell played his part with a comedic timing which made him a stand out in the whole thing. I am not sure what the movie says about today's entertainment writing in Hollywood. Jonah Hill acted as if he channeled the "Greek" movie into collaboration of improbably scenes. I guess the use of Method Man legitimized the ethnic scenes or something. I am pretty certain this production was not vying for the Academy Awards or the Golden Globe. The predictable story line just got dumber as it went on and on. This movie was about 45 minutes too long.
As the what title suggests, I don't expect anyone looking forward to
watching a drama-comedy that has depth. This is more of a pure comedy
and an entertaining one at that for me, so I'd consider it successful.
And yes, The Sitter is quite unoriginal and what movie-goers call "predictable". I admit it's a kind of fun to try to expect the unexpected, but a predictable story does not equal a bad story. In fact, from the beginning of the 80 minutes or so until the end I'd been kept entertained and I honestly didn't experience many boring moments.
Other than its comedic scenes, the movie does have attempts to include moving scenes that make the audience learn something. I would say those attempts are not highly effective but not at all futile efforts.
The best way to conclude The Sitter is to say that it is a good comedy for young adults or above. Language and inappropriate behavior are main reasons this may not be suitable for children or younger teens. The Sitter is an enjoyable movie that is funny and does not require too much thinking to understand.
Hilarious from start to finish, The Sitter injected a much-needed R-rated comedy boost to the draggy awards season of December. Jonah Hill delivers another funny performance, but the real surprise for me was the shocking pro-gay message featuring one of the first kid-related gay story lines in a mainstream film. Max Records, the awesomely talented kid from Where the Wild Things Are, has no problem with the content and easily delivers a calculated performance. I guess I was so surprised because gay content is rarely dealt with so carefully in a Hollywood film marketed toward young adults, and I have to say I was really impressed. The kids make the movie all the better, and each of them is given a relatively well-developed backstory. The movie never sputters out, running at a perfect pace and hitting all the right punches. Even Sam Rockwell is awesome as a crazy could-be-gay drug dealer who chases the sitter and the children all across town. The Sitter is a movie I'd easily recommend and another fun treat from director David Gordon Green.
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