What can we say about The Sitter that hasn’t been thought in the first 30 seconds of the trailer? Really? As he touted to himself during his appearance on Saturday Night Live, it’s been a big year for Jonah Hill. Getting a nod from the Academy for his performance in Moneyball, it’s hard to believe The Sitter was released in the same year. Teaming with sort-of acclaimed director David Gordon Green, the film about Jonah Hill driving around with three kids he’s babysitting has mixed results.
When lazy college student Noah Griffith is asked to babysit three children on Saturday evening, he shrugs his shoulders in disgust. There is nothing worse Noah can think of than spending the biggest night of the weekend with a couple of kids. But when he hears his mother would have to cancel her date (and with the promise of a little monetary incentive), Noah changes his tune.
Arriving at the Pedullas’ house, Noah is introduced to Slater, oldest of the three children. Clad in dark sunglasses and appearing “straight out of a Gap commercial” there is something very off-putting about Slater. Upstairs Blithe, the youngest of the three children, is painting her face with her mother’s make up. Obsessed with celebrity culture, Blithe’s goal in life is to be a celebrity harlot. In an adjacent room, Rodrigo, the adopted child from South America, amuses himself with knives.
After the parents leave, Jonah is content with watching TV and trying to forget that he’s babysitting on a Saturday night, though his girlfriend Marisa is not too keen on this idea. At a party and dying to get a hold of cocaine, Marisa convinces Jonah to pick up white powdered party favors from her dealer, Karl.
But the kids are coming with him.
It’s not that Jonah Hill is bad in The Sitter; it’s just obvious he’s looking for a career change. In his last few films, the 28-year-old actor has seemingly acted his age. The Sitter refuses this maturity and throws him back into the super-raunchy Superbad alter-ego. Despite getting a few one liners-i.e. “Blithe, get that make up off your face! Are you trying to be a ‘Mob Wife’? – the part is too young for Hill.
The biggest disappointment comes in the form of Sam Rockwell and JB Smoove. If I said it once, I’ve said it a million times, ‘Sam Rockwell is the most underrated actor in Hollywood’. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind? Frost/Nixon? Despite those wonderful performances, his role as the drug dealing Karl in The Sitter made me eat my words. Rockwell is sub-par at best. And worst of all, no dancing.
Smoove, who plays Karl’s eccentric sidekick, did not make me laugh once. I knew after seeing his name in the credits he wouldn’t have the comic flair of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but would at least get one or two laughs. Nothing! Needless to say, I pouted during Smoove and Rockwell’s lackluster performances.
David Gordon Green is quite the mystery man to me. Judging by his last two efforts, Your Highness and Pineapple Express, he’s lost all interest in public or critical appeal. His mixture of juvenile humor and Hill’s potty-mouth ultimately leave us with a childish movie with nothing but childish humor.