- Running time:
- 81 minutes
- Jonah Hill -
- Noah Griffith
- Max Records -
- Ari Graynor -
- Marisa Lewis
- JB Smoove -
- Sam Rockwell -
Lazy Noah (Jonah Hill) is going through a “period of stasis” that involves little more than sitting on the couch and thinking of ways to get his would-be girlfriend Marisa (Ari Graynor) to sleep with him. As a favor to his mother (Jessica Hecht), Noah grudgingly agrees to babysit three difficult kids: anxious 13-year-old pill-popper Slater (Max Records), 9-year-old aspiring “celebutante” Blithe (Landry Bender) and 10-year-old cherry bomb aficionado Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez). When Noah gets a call from Marisa promising she’ll have sex with him if he brings her drugs, Noah packs up the kids and heads out for a wild night in New York City.
The buzz: It may not be immediately apparent, but there’s more going on here than just Hill’s first solo star turn (in his last screen appearance before his recent considerable weight loss) and an umpteenth variation of the “inappropriate babysitter” premise. “The Sitter” continues director David Gordon Green’s somewhat bizarre transformation from helmer of acclaimed but little seen indies (“All the Real Girls,” “Snow Angels”) to a force behind mainstream but still offbeat comedies (“Pineapple Express,” “Your Highness”). This time he’s working from a script by first time writers Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka.
The verdict: “The Sitter” isn’t just your average bad Hollywood comedy. It’s a goofily twisted hybrid of ‘80s comedies “Adventures in Babysitting” and “After Hours,” offering just enough inspired surrealism to make it legitimately disappointing that Noah’s crazy adventures flame out so quickly. The mostly amusing character quirks pile up so fast—Blithe’s pint-sized Paris Hilton act, Marisa’s outrageously selfish demands, the secret of what’s really bugging Slater, the deranged drug dealer (Sam Rockwell) with a brigade of bodybuilding bodyguards—it’s a shame when an actual plot kicks in. But kick in it does, and no amount of eccentric details or infectious hip-hop song selections can disguise the story’s slavish regard for inane formula. A series of “emotional” conversations Noah has with handful of other characters are so awkwardly forced it’s difficult to tell if they’re meant to be sincere or parody genre conventions. Either way, they fall flat, along with the rushed and unspectacular final act face off with the drug dealer and “Ferris Bueller”-style race to get the kids home on time. Maybe it’s time for another career transformation for Green. After the truly inspired “Pineapple” and uneven but ambitious “Highness,” he seems too bored to go the distance here. At only 81 minutes (with credits), “The Sitter” doesn’t stick around for long, but still manages to overstay its welcome.
Did you know? If Green is looking for a change, it might come in the form of a long-planned remake of Dario Argento's 1977 horror cult classic "Suspiria." It sounds like the project could be close to happening.
Follow Metromix's Geoff Berkshire on Twitter: @geoffberkshire
Movie theaters and showtimes for The Sitter in Washington D.C..
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