As far as I’m concerned David Gordon Green has made two really good comedies this year. Both come with their fair share of flaws and missteps, but both are equally hilarious in their own way. Your Highness did a great job of mixing an 80’s fantasy film with a modern day stoner film thanks to Danny McBride‘s mean and vulgar writing. The Sitter is more of a one man show, focusing all of its intentions on Jonah Hill, who really makes the film, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Hill’s excellent line delivery mixed with Green’s eye for grabbing the best jokes makes The Sitter another crazy R-rated comedy that will most likely get skipped over.
Noah Griffith (Jonah Hill) is a suspended college student who doesn’t really have any motivation to do anything. His dad wants nothing to do with him and his mom seems to be the only person in the world that cares about him. He’s got issues like most people these days and he’s okay with settling for a bitch that’s only using him for his excellent oral skills and constant reliability. He’ll move mountains if it means he has a slight chance of getting a hand job, but when it comes to answering the phone for his mom he won’t lift a finger.
He’s a lazy asshole that deserves some of what he’s dished, but he’s not all bad. When his mom gets an opportunity to go out and meet a guy Noah volunteers to babysit for her friend. He flat out dislikes kids and knows it’s not going to be an easy task, but he loves his mom and he doesn’t want to rob of her that little bit of fun she still has left in her. He’s introduced to the trio of kids, each more fucked up than the last.
Slater (Max Records) is the poster boy for what’s wrong with half of the youth these days. He’s constantly under the impression that he needs to bury his feelings and expressions deep down inside, resulting in his long list of daily medications that keep him calm and “normal”.
Blithe (Landry Bender) is yet another shining example of the wrong idea getting pumped into our youth. She’s obsessed with being a celebrity. She wants everyone to do what she tells them to do and while she’s sort of cute and charming in a kid way she sends off some misguided parenting vibes.
Topping off the children is the adopted child named Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez). He’s basically the one gag kid who relies on his lack of communication and his need to want to blow shit up. He feels left out of his family and all he’s trying to do with his sleeve full of antics is be accepted and loved.
The Sitter follows Noah as he takes the kids he’s supposed to be babysitting out for a wild hunt for cocaine. If he can get the cocaine and get to the party that his so called girlfriend is at he might have a chance at scoring. Things don’t go according to plan after Rodrigo steals a boat load of blow from a flamboyant drug dealer named Karl (Sam Rockwell) and now Noah must come up with ten thousand dollars before the end of the night or else Karl will kill him.
The film is a very productive comedy in terms of Jonah Hill churning out some really funny jokes left and right. He’s got excellent line delivery and the film primarily works because of him. He grows a big set of balls throughout the film and watching the transformation of Noah from pathetic loser to confident idiot is believable and it works for the most part. By most part I mean it’s funny and entertaining on a comedy level, but when the character tries to give life lessons to the kids it becomes a little too much.
The Sitter is a raunchy babysitting comedy that’s stupid and immature, but it’s that immaturity that makes it funny. Hill is constantly throwing out lines of dialogue that make absolutely no sense. He’s a twisted gangster, a mean babysitter and caring friend all in one. The first two fit him well because of his comedy style, but that last character description is a little too hard to swallow because of everything that comes before it.
Director David Gordon Green is easily one of my favorite comedy directors working today and I’d like him to stick with comedy. The Sitter‘s biggest step in the wrong direction is when it tries to bring some emotion into it. I had no problem laughing at Hill as he exploded a dinosaur egg of narcotics onto his face in a minivan, but I did have a problem trying to believe the sincerity of his character when he was coaching one of the children about confronting his feelings of being gay. I wasn’t laughing at the subject matter or anything like that I was just kind of shaking my head at how serious the film tried to be.
It’s not a heartfelt movie at all, even though it often times tries to be. The only real connection you believe is between Noah and his parents. You can see how much he appreciates his mom and you can see how much his dad has damaged him and robbed him of a normal childhood, but that is where the line is drawn. Noah’s fathering comments to the kids doesn’t work at all and it nearly ruins the film.
But Sam Rockwell provides one hell of a supporting performance as Karl. He’s half bad ass drug dealer and half cuddly friend. He quickly starts to steal the show from Hill when they’re on the screen together, but Gordon Green knows how to give us some Rockwell in doses. He cleverly drops in Rockwell at timed intervals. Just when Hill is starting to run out of comedic juice Rockwell pops up for a quick encounter and then he goes on his way again. It keeps the funny running on high and he keeps Rockwell’s character from getting played out.
Is The Sitter a perfect comedy that will please all crowds? Not a chance. Is The Sitter Jonah Hill‘s funniest movie yet? I’d like to say so. The Sitter works mostly because of Jonah Hill. It shows that he doesn’t need to be in buddy-buddy films or act as the supporting character who is also the main guy, but not really. (Example Get Him to The Greek). The Sitter shows that if you have one really great actor you can successfully make a comedy work.
The only real problems it has are its moments of emotional clarity. Whenever things get a little too serious you’ll be turning your head at the screen wondering why they’re wasting time on this when there could be plenty of more jokes to squeeze in. The writing is partially to blame for The Sitter‘s issues, but David Gordon Green and Jonah Hill make the film enjoyable and comical.
The Sitter – 8/10