Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Sitter

The Sitter; comedy, USA, 2011; D: David Gordon Green, S: Jonah Hill, Max Records, Landry Bender, Sam Rockwell, Ari Graynor

The lazy and unemployed Noah is persuaded by his mother to accept a job as a babysitter for Mrs Pedulia's three kids: the over-sensitive 13-year old Slater, the celebrity obsessed Blithe and the adopted, problematic Rodrigo who often likes to play with dynamite. When a girl, Maria, phones him to bring cocaine to her party, Noah takes the three kids with him to New York. Unfortunately, Rodrigo steals and breaks the egg full of cocaine from a gangster, Karl, who now gives Noah until midnight to bring him 10,000 $ as a compensation. Through various misadventures, Noah manages to stop Karl by having a gang beat him up; talk and bring some sense to the three kids before bringing them back home and meeting a new girlfriend, Roxanne.

"The Sitter" is one of those mainstream comedies from which the most you can expect are a few good laughs here and there, and nothing else. Unlike other babysitting comedies, like "The Pacifier", this one surprisingly does not play out inside the home of the kids, but goes bizarrely out of the way when the babysitter Noah goes into the city and brings the three kids with him: it is almost as if the movie started with one plot point, only to swing over to a completely different one. Because, for the remained of the film, the story is only about Noah trying to get money to appease the gangster Karl, and the three kids that accompany him in the car seem almost like a third wheel in the narrative. They are practically not needed. However, one has to admit that Jonah Hill is excellent in the main role as Noah: unlike other comedians who are hyperactive, loud and full of grimaces, he is perfectly calm and stoic almost even during panic situations, which gives him an aura of a more elevated comedian. There is this brilliant scene when his character says a quietly hilarious line: "Even for a kid, you sound like an idiot." Likewise, near the end of the movie, Noah actually gives two wise advices to Slater and Blithe, which somewhat justifies their presence in the story - but not of Rodrigo, whose character of a kid who throws dynamite to blow up public toilets was completely misguided from start to finish. A mess of a film, with several questionable ideas (for instance, having Blithe, the little girl, wear too much make up the entire film), yet with a few funny moments, the best arriving with the closing credits of the main characters appearing as police sketeches with hilarious captions. But "Uncle Buck" it ain't.


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