The Sitter (2011)

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IMDb Rating
5.7 out of 10 (view IMDb page)

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81 Minutes
David Gordon Green">
Brian Gatewood
Alessandro Tanaka">

Weekly Volcano's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on December 7th, 2011

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What on earth has happened to David Gordon Green? This is a director who had a perfect streak of beautifully shot, lyrically told films, with George Washington, All the Real Girls, Undertow and Snow Angels. Then Pineapple Express came along and seemingly ruined everything. While I enjoyed Pineapple Express, it seems to have opened Green up to the world of comedy with remarkably unsavory results. First came Your Highness, the Danny McBride and James Franco send-up of sword-and-sorcery pictures, and now here plops The Sitter.

Before the release of Your Highness, I heard an interview with David Gordon Green in which he discussed his desire to make a film that emulated the ‘80s fantasy movie, a la Conan the Barbarian. Now, it seems, his goal is to emulate the late ‘80s, early ‘90s wacky babysitting movie, a la Adventures in Babysitting. While The Sitter doesn't explicitly attempt to recreate the feeling of those movies, there are definite ‘80s touchstones that The Sitter aims to hit. Take, for instance, Noah (Jonah Hill) venturing into a black bar-a scene which references Eddie Murphy's trip into a white bar in 48 Hours, as well as Anthony Michael Hall's terribly misguided black imitation in Weird Science.

The story ... Noah is stuck with the undesirable task of babysitting three kids for the evening: the high-strung Slater (Max Records, more or less reprising his emotionally raw role from Where the Wild Things Are), the "celebutante"-emulating Blithe (Landry Bender) and the near-psychotic Ecuadorian adopted child, Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez). Noah is tasked, shockingly early in the night, to find cocaine and deliver it to his bitchy girlfriend at a party. So begins a nightmarish series of events that includes car chases, run-ins with a terrifying drug dealer (Sam Rockwell, in a thankless but funny performance) and a throw-down with an MMA fighter.

The trouble with this film is basically the same reason why it was made: this is all well-trod territory. The filmmakers wanted it to be. Each touchstone that's reached is accompanied by a mental image of the writer proudly checking it off a list. Somehow, in all of the crazy events of the night, Noah manages to have a private sit-down with each of the kids to impart some wisdom. At one point in the movie, I felt it beginning to wrap up, so I glanced at my watch and it was 45 minutes in. The Sitter is only about 77 minutes, but you can practically feel it breathlessly stumbling across the finish line. - One and a half stars

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