The Sitter Review
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Once upon a time, director David Gordon Green was an indie darling, garnering both awards and critical acclaim for his early dramas. But then he must have had some sort of strange epiphany (or perhaps a serious head injury), bringing him to the conclusion that stoner comedies are way cooler than art house dramas. The result was Pineapple Express, followed by Your Highness. And now, instead of wisely hanging up his bong and returning to his roots, he’s teamed up with Jonah Hill for a painfully dull comedy about a babysitting job gone horribly wrong.

In The Sitter, Hill stars as Noah Griffith, an unemployed college dropout who spends his days camped out on his mom’s couch, watching soaps. When his mom (Jessica Hecht) finally gets a chance to have a fun night out—and possibly meet a man who can make her happy—Noah is thrilled for her. So when the night out almost falls through because her friends can’t get a babysitter, Noah reluctantly agrees to fill in.

  
 
Noah expects to spend the night sitting on the Pedullas’ couch, watching TV, and generally ignoring the kids. But when he’s invited to a party—with the prospect of getting laid—he packs up the Pedullas’ minivan and drags the kids along on a (not-so-)wild adventure.

Of course, in order to enjoy this film even remotely, you have to buy into the idea that a couple of loving, caring, seemingly intelligent human beings would actually allow Jonah Hill to babysit their kids—despite the fact that they’re well aware of his occasional run-ins with the law. And, unfortunately, it just gets more ridiculous and unbelievable from there.

The Sitter is supposed to be a series of wild and crazy adventures, as Noah meets up with scantily-clad bodybuilders and unstable drug dealers and bitter old high school classmates. But, in fact, there’s nothing especially outrageous—or even mildly amusing—about the things that happen. It’s just an endless chain of ridiculous scenarios, all loosely connected by completely unlikely events.

To make matters worse, the foul-mouthed, drug-fueled adventures are then followed by a number of awkward attempts at heartwarming pep talks, which would have seemed much less out of place in, say, a cute family movie, where that sort of thing is expected.

In an outrageous comedy, it’s best to stick with the comedy, going from one outlandish scene to another with little or no regard for the characters’ physical or psychological wellbeing. Instead, The Sitter ends up dealing with Noah’s daddy issues and the kids’ problems with friends, family, and self-esteem (though, just for the record, it never really deals with the fact that an irresponsible babysitter took three kids with him to buy cocaine and try to get laid at a party; that part is apparently okay).

In the end, The Sitter is a little too much like its main character: lame and pointless and completely lacking in direction. And it’s yet another disappointment from a director who once showed so much promise.


Blu-ray Review:
If Jonah Hill’s hilarious new cop comedy, 21 Jump Street, has you racing to check out more of his movies, I can’t say that I’d recommend The Sitter. But, if you do pick up the Totally Irresponsible Edition Blu-ray release of The Sitter, you’ll get two versions of the film—both theatrical and unrated—and plenty of extras.

The special features menu comes with more extras than you could possibly stomach—like a gag reel and ten obnoxious deleted/extended/alternate scenes. While it’s usually easy to see why the deleted scenes from other films didn’t make the cut, it’s actually difficult to say why these particular scenes were cut, since they’re really no more obnoxious than any of the rest of the scenes in the movie.

Other extras include Sits-and-Giggles, in which various cast members make repeatedly unsuccessful attempts at improvised humor, Jonah the Producer, a painfully awkward (and, again, humorless) feature with Hill pretending (not) to be a role model for the poor kids in the film, and a shockingly long making-of feature, which has no more direction than the film itself.

Really, the most watchable feature of the bunch is the minute-long For Your Consideration, featuring more from the adorable (and most likely permanently scarred) young Landry Bender.

Of course, if you found the random outrageous comedy of The Sitter even slightly hilarious, you may find something entertaining about the features, too. But, for everybody else, it’s probably best to steer clear of the extras. In fact, just skip the movie altogether and watch 21 Jump Street again instead.

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