In Home Viewings: "The Sitter"

After getting kicked out of college, Noah Griffith (Jonah Hill) finds himself aimlessly laying around his childhood home more often than not. When his mother’s friend needs a babysitter in order to get a night out, Noah begrudgingly takes on the task of caring for Slater (Max Records), Blithe (Landry Bender), and Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez). But when his would-be girlfriend Marisa (Ari Graynor) asks him for a favor, Noah packs the kids into the family minivan and embarks on a foolhardy night of misadventures and self-discovery.

I expected very little from this film going in. I hoped for the standard “C+” level of comedy that seems to plague the industry these days and I would have been satisfied with that sort of return on my investment. After all, you cannot ask too much from a bottom of the barrel, “I’ve seen every other movie available for rent so I guess this will do” sort of movie, which is what The Sitter was for me. With expectations that low, I really didn’t think I could be too disappointed.

I was so very, very wrong.

Truth be told, this is one of the worst movies I’ve ever made it all the way through. The formula is simple: take Adventures in Babysitting, add in elements of School of Rock and then subtract all semblance of humor, fun, or general entertainment value and voila, you’ve got The Sitter. The plot is predictably brutal and paper thin but I could have accepted that if only the absurdities that Noah and his cohorts encounter throughout the course of the night had been even slightly humorous. Instead, the comedy within The Sitter plays like a film comprised of the awful moments edited out of the very worst Adam Sandler movies. As the night progresses, Noah’s shenanigans become more and more outlandish while the consequences seem to become less and less significant. I’m not opposed to ridiculous plot points in a movie like this and again, I wasn’t expecting an awards-caliber film. But what The Sitter turns into is a hodgepodge of stupid plot twists that are only vaguely connected and are never wrapped up sufficiently. It’s as if director David Gordon Green forgot about the various circumstances he puts his characters in then got bogged down in post-production and just said, “Ah, screw it” and sent it to print. (Of course, what else should I expect from the genius who brought us Your Highness and Pineapple Express?) According to this film, cherry bombs have the power to blow up a jewelry storefront but no one will be held accountable for such actions as long as the kids are in bed by 1 am. Clearly there was no point in the making of this film in which someone, anyone, stopped to think if any of this made even the slightest amount of sense. Or more importantly, if any of this was worth memorializing in film form in the first place.

The Sitter is rife with bland, sleepwalking performances that certainly do nothing to help the movie become passable. Hill is particularly uninterested but in all honesty, I can’t blame him. This was a train wreck from the moment it received the green light. Somehow, The Sitter is only 81 minutes long (it felt much closer to 256) and yet I spent the entire runtime begging myself to put an end to the madness by any means necessary. Do yourself a favor and stay far, FAR away from this shamefully stupid “film.”