David Gordon Green, director of Pineapple Express and the disappointing Your Highness brings us yet again another run-of-the-mill, forgettable crude comedy. Loosely based on the far superior 80’s hit Adventures in Babysitting, The Sitter follows the child-hating Jonah Hill as he is given the task of looking after three mischievous (and one homicidal) children, who all share the mutual aim in ruining Hill’s plans to meet up with a girl, following her to a party with the promise of getting lucky. The Sitter follows a generic and overused ‘looking after disruptive children’ formula in which the troublesome threesome guarantee that everything you could possible imagine to go wrong does and in the worst ways imaginable.
The film marks Jonah Hill’s final film typecast as the pathetic fat teenager after his incredible weight loss, which arrives parallel to his first foray into drama alongside Brad Pitt in MoneyBall. However, Hill does not disappoint in pleasing his target audience through his constant use of profanity and crude one-liners. There are some funny moments scattered about, including the token Latin child who loses a drug dealer’s cocaine; the basic driving force behind the film’s predictable plot. Yet there is little to offer in terms of redemption, with Sam Rockwell’s flamboyant and eccentric drug dealer character with homosexual tendencies being the solitary source of humour, and even that’s clutching at straws. Predictable from the outset, the three unruly children constantly clash throughout until they eventually warm to him, presenting misplaced and odd bonding scenes between Hill’s character and the eldest boy Niall, who is struggling to come to terms with being gay and coming out to his friends and family; something Hill’s character suddenly becomes an expert on.
Unfortunately Green fails to capture the same sparkle, present in the stoner hit Pineapple Express, that at least has an understanding of its niche audience and instead presents a clichéd and often tedious addition to his recent list of disappointing efforts. Its lack of originality and absence of laugh-out-loud moments leave the film to pass by virtually unnoticed, forgotten under the overwhelming number of American comedies released throughout the year.
The Sitter (2011), directed by David Gordon Green, is distributed in the UK by Twentieth Century Fox, Certificate 15.