The Sitter (Rated R) 2 Stars
There is a very good reason that the release date of The Sitter (2011) was pushed from August to December. August 2011 saw the release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Help and a little sleeper called 30 Minutes or Less … and since The Sitter is dreck, it could not risk any competition. I certainly wouldn’t have seen it if there was anything else to review (that wasn’t a cartoon or a Gary Marshall movie. And yes, Muppets count as cartoons for the pur-poses of my example).
Director David Gordon Green is just going steadily downhill: His last good movie was Pineapple Express, and that was only good, sort of. Some people really seemed to like it. I guess it made me laugh. I wish The Sitter were funnier so I could laugh and have some-thing more interesting to put in the review. Screenwriters Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka don’t even have any other credits under their belts, which actually makes me wonder if these are Alan Smithee type screenwriter credits (Look it up kids. You can even watch the documentary!)
So the “hero” of the piece is Noah Griffith (the before shot of Jonah Hill). He isn’t very likeable, and he must have watched every after-school special ever, be-cause by the second half of the film every discussion he has with another character involves a lengthy public-service announcement.
We open on Noah and his pseudo-girlfriend, Marisa (Ari Graynor, Meadow’s college roommate from The Soprano’s) “telling secrets.” That thankfully brief scene ends, and Noah heads home to be an unemployed burden to his poor mother (Jessica Hecht). I am sure the scene where he refused to answer the phone is supposed to be funny. It is not. It is what men who sit on the couch and drink beer while their wives simultaneously cook, clean and change diapers think is funny when they do it, but which hopefully ends with aforementioned dirty diaper dumped on their heads. Can we mail David Gordon Green some dirty diapers?
Anyway, the phone call is about canceling his saint of a mother’s dinner plans, at least until Mom guilt trips her obnoxious son into agreeing to babysit. He arrives at the House of Poor Parenting to greet Mrs. Bad Parent (Erin Daniels). She introduces him to Future Lindsay Lohan Blithe (Landry Bender), Slater (Max Records) and Walking Talking Stereotype Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez). One and a half of the children are se-verely neglected, and I wonder how they managed to adopt, since it would require passing a rigorous home screening (Spoiler Alert: One of the kids is adopted. See if you can guess which one!)
After Noah sexually harasses Mrs. Bad Parent for a while, Mr. Bad Parent (D.W. Moffat) pede-texts his way into the room. They head out, leaving Noah to emotionally abuse their already fragile children. Not too long after, he gets a call from pseudo-girlfriend to swing by Poorly Characterized Drug Dealer’s (Sam Rockwell) house and get her some illegal drugs. Noah takes about five seconds to consider her request, and decides that taking three small children into the city to buy drugs, and then escorting them to an adults-only party is a great idea that will never possibly go wrong in a million years.
Except, of course, it does, leading to the repetition of a scene from A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas that wasn’t funny the first time. His poor impulse control leads Noah to a child’s Bat Mitzvah party, a shady Chinatown set piece based on the drug den from Boogie Nights, his estranged father’s, the Diamond District, and an even shadier set piece based on the Blues Club from Adventures in Babysitting. Finally, he gets to the party, experiences some character development, forces the children to listen to several inane speeches and discov-ers his inner-strength — or something. Overall, a waste of two hours of my life. But feel free to judge for yourself, when it is released on basic cable sometime next month.
Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.