Sunday, 3 June 2012

THE SITTER DVD review

Hired as a babysitter for the night, layabout Noah (Jonah Hill) sits there responsibly, looks after the kids and everything goes to plan. No wait, that'd be a stupid idea for a movie. As you'd expect, things go wrong and hilarity ensues; but to what level?




From David Gordon Green, director of Pineapple Express and Your Highness, it wouldn't be too far a leap to say that now smoking weed and making stoner comedies with his friends has taken over his career, and we may never see the return of David Gordon Green, respected director of All The Real Girls and Undertow. That's not to say that his jaunt through comedy is without merit; Pineapple Express was hugely enjoyable and Your Highness had its moments, and now we have The Sitter, bringing him together with a pre-dramatic weight loss Jonah Hill.


There's a line in 2009's ironically titled Funny People where Jonah Hill's character Leo tells his newly slimline friend played by Seth Rogen "you shouldn't have lost all that weight, man. There's nothing funny about a physically fit man". Hill has already proven himself wrong with his starring role in the recent big screen 21 Jump Street remake, so to that end, is The Sitter (filmed before he started his health kick) the end of the chubby Jonah Hill as we know and love him?

Only 77 minutes long (although the DVD also includes a six minute longer, "Totally Irresponsible" edition), The Sitter takes an oft used formula on which to hang a series of 'outrageous' stoner gags. When Noah's manipulative girlfriend Marisa invites him to a party in the city with the promise of "full on vaginal intercourse" (provided he picks up some coke on the way first), he brings along the kids he's agreed to look after for the night so that his long suffering mother can go out on a date.


Belonging to a particular sub-genre of a sub-genre (the night on the town placed within the movie set in 24 hours), The Sitter provokes the most comparisons with 1987's Adventures in Babysitting, in particular with the gaggle of children the lead character has been put in charge of. A feisty bunch who put Noah's patience and skills as an adult to the test, the prima-donna Blithe, the angst ridden Slater and the pyromaniac Rodrigo (adopted from El Salvador) all get dragged along on a journey through the parts of town no child should be.

It's at this part of town where Noah encounters and then makes an enemy of Sam Rockwell's homoerotic drug dealer, Karl. Along with his sidekick Julio (played by Curb Your Enthusiasm's JB Smoove, who also appeared in the thematically similar Date Night), they add an increment of peril to an otherwise aimless plot, even if their roles are played for laughs. The level of peril is always a funny one to gauge in these films, as you kind of know that nothing horrendous is ever going to happen to the three children involved. It's just one of the inherent flaws the film has to deal with before we even get started on some of the story issues.


Yes, Jonah Hill may be playing an everyman stoner with a lovable personality, but the two potential love interests he has are both impossibly attractive for him. No offense, Jonah, but you're punching above your weight there; pun intended. Plot threads tail off with all the respect for narrative coherence of a stoner sat at a bus stop telling you a story about finding a sandwich; and Max Records' side story about teenage sexual confusion doesn't have anything to do with anything else, walking a fine line between the presumptuous and the insulting.

Falling short of the desired mark of being Superbad five years on, The Sitter starts off strong with a great deal of pace, but as the end approaches the story drags somewhat; not a good sign for a 77 minute movie. Plenty of gags do hit the mark, but again they're all weighted towards the start of the film. Is this the final swansong for old school Jonah Hill? If so it's not the worst comedy to bow out on, but suffers in comparison to his other work. The Sitter may be a passable slacker distraction, but is ultimately Superbad-lite. 


Verdict




Special Features:
+ Extended cut with 6 minutes of extra footage.

2 comments:

  1. funny movie ! Action packed and drama after another ! I also cant wait to see The Love Guide with Parker Posey in it June 19th ! She is hilarious !

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  2. I sort of agree. Not that someone who looks like Hill can't get hot chicks. But NOAH can't because he's a douche. Good review.

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