The Port Arthur News
It wasn't that long ago that writer/director David Gordon Green burst onto the scene with a trio of superb indie dramas. Hollywood insiders and film critics alike pegged him as someone with greatness in his future. But then Green "went Hollywood," delivering a second trio of films that were a big letdown. I suppose "The Pineapple Express" gets points for being an okay stoner comedy, but there's very little excuse for last summer's "Your Highness" for this week's new offering, "The Sitter."
Jonah Hill stars as Noah, a 20-something loser. Unemployed, kicked out of college and being used by his "girlfriend" (Ari Graynor) for sexual pleasure without any reciprocation, Noah's only redeeming quality appears to be that he loves his mother and is willing to babysit three annoying kids so that mom can go on a blind date.
Noah is saddled with the three kids from hell. Slater (Max Records) is an insecure bundle of nerves while younger sister, Marisa (Lewis Ari) fancies herself as an 8-year-old party girl. Throw in adopted son Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez), who likes to run away and throw cherry bombs in toilets, and you have the start of some very awkward comedy.
The problem is that Noah's "girlfriend" wants him to bring some cocaine over to a party, so Noah loads the three kids into the minivan and heads into New York City to score some drugs from the world's weirdest drug dealer (Sam Rockwell). Naturally, things go wrong and Noah finds himself embarking on a late night crime spree with the three kids in tow.
"The Sitter" is a bit like a foul-mouthed version of "Adventures in Babysitting," except without any of that film's charm or legitimate sense of adventure. "The Sitter" is also sorely lacking in humor; hoping to wring some laughs out of placing the young kids in very adult situations. It doesn't work. The kids simply aren't funny, and they're certainly not cute enough to make us care about their dangerous adventure.
I will admit that I enjoyed Rockwell's oddball turn as the drug dealer, Karl. This is a guy who surrounds himself with roided-out body builders and will kill you at the drop of a hat if you cross him. Then again, Karl would much prefer to hug it out and friend Noah on Facebook. That makes for one very strange but funny character.
Unfortunately there's just not a lot of Karl in "The Sitter." Instead, we get stuck with unfunny Noah and the three bratty kids. It makes for a rather tedious experience, albeit one that's pretty easy to swallow as the film barely runs 80 minutes. All-in-all, "The Sitter" is another major disappointment from David Gordon Green. Perhaps he'd be better served if he fled Hollywood and returned to his indie ways.