The Sitter movie poster
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The Sitter movie poster

The Sitter Movie Review

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Ah, babysitter movies. Pillow fights, sexy vixens in underwear and crazy adventures. Or Jonah Hill. And not even post-weight-loss Jonah Hill either. Very disappointing. In the new ridiculously unfunny The Sitter, Hill plays Noah, a college student who does nothing but hang out at his mother’s house. He is talked into babysitting three children for the evening, but what should be a simple night turns into something much more as he sets out to buy drugs for his girlfriend so she’ll have sex with him. The things we do for love. Or sex. Or entertaining an audience.

Pitting Hill against three children and throwing in drug dealers, wannabe gang bangers and more seems like a recipe for success, but the filmmakers do everything in their power to make the audience laugh as little as possible. In that regard, they do succeed, because The Sitter is one of the worst comedies to come along in a long time.

Well, since Your Highness, which was also directed by David Gordon Green (whose Pineapple Express is looking more and more like a fluke with every passing second). At least Your Highness, as nauseatingly bad as it was, was absurdly ridiculous.

The Sitter, written by first timers Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, shuffles from one meaningless scene to the next without regard for comedic timing or entertainment value. Hill shows none of the flair he’s put on display in his other movies, probably because he realized early on just what a disaster The Sitter was going to be. The filmmakers try to paint the child stars as colorful characters, but fail miserably. The little girl likes to wear too much makeup and tries to be a brat, but after her first scene she fades into nothingness. Her brother isn’t remotely interesting, and their adopted sibling Rodrigo likes to blow things up but otherwise is useless. Meanwhile, the African-American characters all talk and act like gangbangers even though they aren’t, because apparently all African-Americans want to be gangbangers. Thank God they’re tough enough to save Noah from a real drug dealer (played by Sam Rockwell) when he gets into a jam.

More disconcerting is that the movie hints at more serious subplots that just don’t work in a silly R-rated comedy such as this. A scene where Noah confronts his dad, who abandoned him for his babysitter and started a new family, seems ripped out of an entirely different movie. The two white children (the adopted Latin kid who likes blowing up toilets isn’t worth a devoted subplot, apparently) both have strangely serious back stories as well. The filmmakers don’t spend time dwelling on them, however, which begs the question: what’s the point?

Ultimately, though, The Sitter just isn’t funny. It’s about as big of a comedic misfire as it could be. And there are no pillow fights or scantily clad babysitters, just Jonah Hill wandering around getting into trouble.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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