The Sitter

Director David Gordon Green could use a bit of redemption after being the ‘brains’ behind arguably the worst movie of the year– April’s disastrously un-funny Your Highness.

Who knew he’d get it with an egregious rip-off of a pseudo-classic 80s movie?

But there you have it. The Sitter, which features Jonah Hill in his final ‘portly’ appearance before his recent slim-down, is equal parts preposterous and priceless. Like its (uncredited) inspiration, 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting, it chronicles a night in the life of an over-his/her-head sitter and the three kids who are unwillingly along for the ride.

Cocaine, a diamond theft, a gang fight, a couple of bombs, and a few unmentionable sex acts are as much the stars here as Hill himself. Think of it as The Hangover… with kids.

After agreeing to be a last-minute, pinch-hit babysitter for his neighbor, Noah Griffith (Hill) quickly realizes that he’s gotten more than he bargained for with his three charges. Slater (Max Records), Blithe (Landry Bender), and adopted El Salvadoran pyromaniac Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez) all have their individual quirks, and Noah is out of his league almost immediately.

It’s Noah, actually, who causes most of the trouble, though. After getting a booty call from his coke-head girlfriend, he agrees to drive to see her in Manhattan, kids in tow. From there, the comedy of errors takes off, and it doesn’t stop until (somehow) everyone is back home safely.

So much of The Sitter is completely implausible, defying logic whenever it can, but the precocious kids and Hill’s loveable loser-ness keep it entertaining. To be honest, it’s also nice to be able to laugh at some particularly un-PC things for once, too. (And there’s plenty that’s un-PC.)

Green keeps things moving along, and he also wisely cast the supporting roles well, including an unhinged Sam Rockwell as a coke kingpin, J.B. Smoove as his right-hand man, and Method Man and Samira Wiley as the folks who steal the family mini-van.

The script by freshmen Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka is a clear homage to Adventures (though updated and crass-ified), but since The Sitter‘s target audience wasn’t even born when that first hit theaters, it can be forgiven.

One more decent comedy like this one, and we can forgive David Gordon Green, too. Maybe Your Highness was just a (really bad) fluke, after all.

3.5/5 stars