Directed by: David Gordon Green Cast: Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, Sam Rockwell Running Time: 1 hr 21 mins Rating: R Due Out: March 20, 2012
PLOT: A college student (Hill) is hired to babysit three troublesome kids.
WHO'S IT FOR? This is the rare movie that would have been better off with a lower rating. Though it's a hard "R," The Sitter would be best for those who still get dropped off to see "PG-13" movies on Saturday afternoons. It's definitely not easy viewing for fans of David Gordon Green, who will probably follow a screening of this movie with a weeping session coddling their Criterion Collection DVDs of George Washington.
Even dumber and stranger than David "Dorm Room" Gordon Green's previous Your Highness, The Sitter is a movie that could almost claim its awfulness is intentional, for the sake of tribute. Just as a filmmaker like Ti West aimed to copy the aesthetics of '80s horror with The House of the Devil, perhaps Green wants to evoke his memories of raunchy mediocre teen comedies, which he may or may not have watched stoned at 1 a.m. in his dorm room a decade ago.
The fun to be had with such a simple concept (babysitting gets way out of control) is squashed by annoying characters, who don't bring anything funny to the screen beyond juvenile giggles. The children are especially obnoxious, with their stereotypical constructions, reckless attitudes and irritating selfishness. It's a shame to see Max Records (the young actor who previously appeared in Where the Wild Things Are) waste a performance with Green in this movie. One can only imagine what non-annoying work Records could achieve if placed into a Snow Angels-like movie with Green.
At the center of this mess is Hill, who plays a character of much wisdom, despite his lack of control on his own life. Before the kids are involved, Hill's title character is an amusing take on a young man in transition (like a Superbad sequel, which isn't a welcome thing). Once he is thrown into sitter-care, the temporary fun of watching his character all but evaporates.
I'm not trying to box Green into a certain type of film. Clearly his previous films (Pineapple Express and Your Highness) express interest in a sillier environment, but his touch for comedy has gotten much sloppier, and has a lackluster touch. Five minutes of Pineapple Express is more fun than the entirety of The Sitter (which barely clocks over 80 minutes). Here's to hoping that Green will at least use his smarts for stupid comedy, instead of dumbing his potential down for dumb nothingness. Maybe Green is laughing, but this is a joke no one else will get.
MOVIE SCORE: 3/10
Deleted Scenes Alternative Ending "For Your Consideration" Sits-N-Giggles The Making of The Sitter Extended Scenes Gag Reel Jonah the Producer Digital copy of the film DVD copy of the the film