XCN Film Club: The Sitter
This unoriginal comedy may be a bit predictable, but still provides the odd laugh here or there. It sees Jonah Hill, of Superbad fame, take on the role of Noah Griffith – a good for nothing college dropout who spends his days sitting at home doing nothing. As soon as you lay eyes on Griffith, you know what to expect. He’s the same character that Hill has built his career on, the unreliable youth who grows into himself as the film wears on, and there are no surprises this time.
The film sets up Griffith as the reluctant babysitter of his neighbour’s three kids – Slater (who has “issues”), Blithe (a “celebutante” wannabe) and Rodrigo (the budding pyromaniac). Griffiths isn’t a great babysitter, with his ”Do what I tell you or I’ll kill you” style, and the kids don’t take well to him, Rodrigo in particular rebelling against him.
The film really hits its stride when Griffith gets a call from his girlfriend, partying hard and craving cocaine. All of a sudden Griffith finds himself on his way to meet her drug dealer with the kids in tow. Obviously, things only go downhill from there.
As a comedy The Sitter tries hard, and for the most part it fails. A standard set up is followed by a mostly predictable story, that serves up far too few laughs. There were several genuinely cringe-worthy scenes, like the testosterone heavy gym scene, complete with camp drug-dealer and steroid pumping bodybuilders in far too little clothing.
Hill’s character is too standard, and you can predict how he’ll ‘develop’ from the very first scene. He shares some (almost) heartfelt scenes with the kids, but that’s the highlight of his performance, which could have been copied and pasted from many of his other films. A rather static romance seems forced in to liven things up, but it’s not well explained, or even explored.
The one shining light of the film is the kids, who deliver remarkably emotional performances that show up Jonah Hill’s cookie-cutter performance. They provide the few genuine laughs there are, and are the only characters that the audience can connect with. You’re left feeling genuinely bad for Slater or Rodrigo, and Rodrigo’s antics provoked smiles throughout the film.
The problem with the film is that it’s all been done before, and it just wasn’t funny enough to justify being done again. Most of the laughs that the film got were of the incredulous “You can’t be serious!” variety, to go with the cringes after it turned out that they were.
This film is more of the same, a comedy that sticks to the formula and tries too hard for laughs. Unfortunately, it fails to find them.
The Sitter can be rented from the Zune Marketplace for 480 points (590 for HD), or purchased for 1770 (or 2120).
Xboxer score: 2/5