MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Over the past year or so, I’ve heard more than one person bemoan the trajectory of David Gordon Green’s directing career. Where he was the indie darling several years ago, achieving a level of mainstream success with “Pineapple Express” in 2008, he seems to be flailing a bit. After last spring’s “Your Highness,” he stumbled again with “The Sitter.”
For the record, I know what he was trying to do with this movie. I’m a child of the 80s, as is Green. So his raunchy homage to “Adventures in Babysitting” did not go without notice. Unfortunately, it did not go with much laughter either.
The story is about a twentysomething slacker named Noah (Jonah Hill) who reluctantly agrees to babysit the kids of his mother’s friend. However, after clashing with the kids, he drags them on a trip into New York City to score cocaine for his not-quite-girlfriend. As a result, the night turns into a cavalcade of adult shenanigans.
Like most comedies, there are some decent moments in this film, but much of the humor never quite sticks the landing. A lot of this rides on the characters, which aren’t necessarily underdeveloped but rather just unappealing. The kids are presented as monstrous head-cases, some violently so. Noah is a social pariah but suddenly becomes warm and fuzzy. There’s the expected bonding between Noah and the kids, but at the expense of logic.
This all makes the characters wildly inconsistent. “The Sitter” never quite decides what it wants to be, and it tries to span generations with its humor and set-up. On one hand, “The Sitter” tries to be an edgy comedy that doesn’t care if it offends. Then it twists its ankle trying to spin around so Jonah Hill can have his charming Mike Brady conversations with the godawful kids he’s in charge of.
The saving grace is the side characters, in particular Sam Rockwell as the half-mad drug dealer chasing Noah who accidentally steals $10,000 worth of coke. Rockwell’s whole shtick is funny, but it probably would have played better in a better film. In the end, his jokes – and many of the others, especially involving the children – just come off as mean-spirited.
At almost every turn, I could see what Green was trying to do. Unfortunately, he rarely goes about it the right way. And in the end, “The Sitter” demonstrates that just because you have a certain love for a type of film or the era in which it was created, doesn’t mean you can successfully pull off an homage to it.
Okay, here’s the deal. I know exactly what David Gordon Green was going for with his new movie “The Sitter.” The guy’s undying love for 80s cinema and his tendency towards raunchy subject matter and awkward humor is apparent throughout the film.
The Blu-ray comes packaged with a DVD and Digital Copy for portable viewing. The disc also contains both the theatrical version of the film as well as the unrated version, which actually features some naked breasts. (Yeah, these things are important to me.)
Other bonus material includes deleted and extended scenes along with an alternate ending and a gag reel. Featurettes include “Sits-N-Giggles,” “For Your Consideration,” “The Making of The Sitter” and “Jonah the Producer.” At the very least, even if you don’t enjoy the film, some of these behind-the-scenes featurettes show a more lively and humorous side of the film set.