July 8, 2012

Filthy Review - The Sitter

The Sitter (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Until recently Jonah Hill has been seen mainly in supporting roles, in movies such as Superbad, Knocked Up and Get Him to the Greek, and more often than not his performances have been incredibly funny. Chances are though that this will soon become a thing of the past, due in part to his recent Academy Award nomination in the Brad Pitt baseball drama Moneyball, and more serious roles will no doubt follow.

In the comedy The Sitter, however, Hill has the lead role and had it not been for his performance the film would probably have gone largely unnoticed. There is nothing in this film that has not been seen before and, to varying degrees, been done better. If the studio executives took a big cook pot and threw in ingredients from films such as Due Date, The Pacifier, Adventures in Babysitting and a wee dash of Weird Science, chances are the end result would look and taste a little like The Sitter. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily so. Originality is not a sure-fire guide to success or quality, and vice versa.

Hill plays Noah, a college drop-out with too much time on his hands. He spends his time servicing a girl, Marisa, with whom he believes he has a relationship, whereas in actual fact she is just using him. He lives with his mother Jessica, his father having walked out on them, and one night is asked if he can babysit her friend’s children so that she can go out on a date at a fundraiser in the City.

Quite obviously this is a recipe for disaster, the three children involved, Blithe, Slater and Rodrigo, all have their own special set of issues; a prima donna, a nervous wreck and an adopted son with a penchant for blowing up toilets. During the course of the evening Marisa phones him offering his sex, if he can just get ahold of some drugs for her. Cue a road-trip to the City in which Noah and kids encounter drug dealers, angry former classmates and an assortment of potentially crazy scenarios.

As mentioned, the plot of The Sitter is nothing that hasn’t been seen before. What does lift the movie up slightly though is Jonah Hill’s expletive-ridden performance. He carries the movies, and carries it well. As an actor he has great comic timing, and even when situations are painfully familiar he manages to still get the laughs, and there are some incredibly funny moments.

The Sitter is a film of individual scenarios though, as it plods from one comedic set-piece to another. This would be all good and well had the writers not decided to try and inject some serious moments into the movie. Films like this don’t need a message; they serve their purpose perfectly well within comedy, so when Noah has a heart-to-heart with the Slater it just serves to break up the momentum.

All in all though The Sitter does have more than its fair share of incredibly funny moments, and Jonah Hill is on top form; some of his language is pure vulgarity-ridden gold. Whether or not he will continue to star in films of this nature in the future though does remain to be seen.
The Sitter isn’t going to change the world of cinema, but the unrated version does deliver on its promise of being totally irresponsible. 

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