Friday, September 28, 2012

The Sitter

Directed by David Gordon Green.
2011. Rated R, 87 minutes (unrated version).

Max Records
Landry Bender
Kevin Hernandez
Ari Graynor
Kylie Bunbury

Noah (Hill) is a college dropout who doesn’t have nor want a job. He’s sorta in a relationship with Marisa (Graynor). To say it’s a one-sided affair is far beyond putting it lightly. It consists of her persuading him to perform oral sex on her after which she finds some excuse to rush him out the door. He slinks home to his video games. It should go without saying that he lives with his mom. She’s divorced but going on a double date with a neighborhood couple, the Pedullas, who are setting her up with one of their friends. When the couple’s normal sitter can’t make it, Noah’s mom asks him to step in. He agrees, but only because he wants to see her have a good time. As expected, the three children he is to watch are merely different levels of nightmare. This is only the beginning of his problems. The catalyst for his other issues is a phone call from Marisa during which she promises they really will “go all the way” if he does her a huge favor: go see her dealer, Karl (Rockwell), score some heroin and bring it to the party she’s attending. Since Noah is way past desperate, he agrees. No, things don’t go smoothly at all. Hijinks and shenanigans involving children and drug pushers ensue.

The Sitter simply wants to be a raunchy comedy featuring Jonah Hill as a slightly older version of characters he’s played in the past. This would be fine if it weren’t all so utterly unfunny, predictable, and arguably offensive in its depiction of minorities. Most of the jokes are both unoriginal and telegraphed from a mile away. Likewise for any and all plot twists. Yes, you will know in advance when he (or one of the other kids in one case) will teach the children valuable life lessons and exactly what they will be. Unsurprisingly, all of the various storylines are tidied up in an overly simple manner.

Within the plot and jokes we already know are a gathering of stereotypes. Noah’s mom and the parents of the kids he’s sitting are cardboard cutouts of the parents from every other similarly themed movie. Marisa is the hot, but not so good for you girl. There’s also Roxanne (Bunbury), the friendly girly who’s been there all along. Rodrigo (Hernandez), the Hispanic kid the Pedullas adopted is a heavy accented pyromaniac. Our hero inevitably winds up in a bar where all the patrons are black thugs. Finally, there’s Karl, the super macho but possibly homosexual drug dealer played by Sam Rockwell. His lair looks like a gay porn set for those with a muscle fetish. Incidentally, the way this character is portrayed clashes pretty badly with one of those life lessons.

Thankfully, The Sitter clocks in under 90 minutes. It still manages to drag since it’s so predictable and just labors through cliché after cliché and bad joke after bad joke, never doing its own thing. The very few laughs to be had are spread pretty far apart. They drown in an ocean of uninspired writing that sends waves of flat punch lines crashing into us.

MY SCORE: 3/10

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