[REVIEW] Cancel your date rather than spending money on “The Sitter.”
Jonah Hill is a man on fire these days. He’s literally trying to make himself the new “King of All Media” (sorry Howard). On top of his normally lucrative comedic films, he was in one of this year’s most critically acclaimed movies (Moneyball), he stars in and produces an animated TV show on FOX (Allen Gregory), and it seems like every five minutes he’s pimping the mega-popular video game franchise Modern Warfare 3 alongside Sam Worthington in a fan favorite TV commercial. All he’s missing is what? A best-selling book? So how does he fare in his latest theatrical effort? Not quite so well…
“It’s Superbad meets Adventures in Babysitting!” is how I imagine the pitch to the studio went for Jonah Hill’s latest romp The Sitter. And that’s not entirely inaccurate when it comes what the film attempts, but unfortunately it’s nowhere near as cool as that pitch makes it sound. It certainly lacks the heart of Adventures in Babysitting. And the funny. And the random THOR cameo (Vincent D’onofrio, the O.G. God of Thunder!). And instead of the adorable Elisabeth Shue you get Jonah Hill: Fat Edition. Most of the laughs in the film come from Hill doing his awkward yet raunchy bits that he’s perfected in other films. But it’s fairly obvious director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) knew he had a stinker of a script and just let Hill run with his scenes to give the film personality, because the story is a mess that’s beyond implausible.
“It’s a comedy, it’s not supposed to be realistic” you say? I say stop backseat critiquing and listen to me. The level you have to suspend your disbelief to enjoy this film is off the charts. We’re supposed to buy at film’s end everything is wrapped up in a neat bow. Yet Jonah Hill’s slacker Noah character has his face plastered all over the news wanted for assault of a local celebrity. He’s totaled a rich man’s mini-van and threatened said man that he would reveal his adulterous ways (even though it was said earlier by the children that his wife was aware of the situation). He stole his Dad’s expensive car and then robbed his Dad’s diamond store, leaving him open for grand theft charges. And lastly (I could go on…) on top of taking kids with him to the inner city to buy coke so he could get laid, we’re supposed to believe he’s capable of giving sound life changing advice in a “sweet” moment where he councils one of the boys he babysits about why being gay is not a bad thing. No seriously. So that’s how serial killers are made! I always wondered…
One of the bright spots of The Sitter is the never disappointing Sam Rockwell. Playing a role he was top billed for but yet somehow I never saw advertised in any commercials or trailers. Hmm. As always he seems to be really having fun in his comedic scenes and elevates the game of everyone around him, including his sidekick, Curb Your Enthusiam‘s vastly underrated J.B. Smoove, who stole almost every scene with his hilarious line delivery.
The Sitter is an uninspired run-of-the-mill comedy that is made up of an empty script that leans too hard on the cast to make something out of nothing. Jonah Hill fans will get some chuckles from this film but it’s one of his weaker efforts. It’s way too raunchy to be a family film and not funny or clever enough to be good adult comedy. What the audience is left with is a movie better suited for a hungover Sunday afternoon on basic cable than spending the money to find a sitter of your own for a night out.
FINAL SCORE: 5.5/10