By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
Noah (Jonah Hill) is a slacker 20-something college dropout who is given the seemingly simple task of babysitting to make a couple bucks. Of course things become complicated as the children turn out to have needs, and his girlfriend wants him to buy cocaine and come to a party. Laughing in the face of responsibility, he takes the kids for a ride across town.
I wasn’t originally supposed to review this film, nor was I interested in it. I found the trailers neither funny nor the concept of an R-Rated retread of Adventures in Babysitting to be worth my time. However, we at Movieboozer feel that every film deserves a chance to be made fun of. I accepted my fate with dignity (and a flask of Ten High).
Karma is a bitch…
If there is anything this film has going for it, it is actor Sam Rockwell’s eccentric performance as the Karl the Gay Druglord. The scenes involving him manage to be amusing and intimidating at the same time. (And for those of you keeping score, he does in fact dance in this movie…) Jonah Hill does his best with the material he is given, and manages a few humorous quips. And the child actor Max Records does a respectable job as the angsty and confused Slater, the oldest of the children.
None of the performances can save a film which starts off on a bad comic beat and never seems to find its footing. The Sitter is a fairly short film. It gets moving right away, and never lets up the pace. Normally comedies work best this way, however the film expects us to relate with Jonah Hill’s character without taking any time to establish empathy. He isn’t the least sympathetic protagonist in the history of comedy, but even films with truly horrible people manage to win over the audience. Take Billy Bob Thornton’s character Willie Stokes in Bad Santa for instance. Stokes is a drunken lout, who robs malls, drinks too much, and takes his frustrations out on children as a mall Santa Claus.
Merry F$%&ing whatever…
And yet his character is far more complex and interesting, because he isn’t just a lazy person, he has a backstory that allows you to see how hard his life has been and how sad his existence has become as a result. Noah on the other hand is just a lazy douche who could change his situation at the drop of the hat if he got off his ass and found a job.
Child actor Landry Bender’s name conjures images of a wild Weekend at Bernie’s style evening with a former Dallas Cowboys coach (which by the way would make for a far better movie). However we are instead presented with the midget version of everything you hate about pop culture. They may as well have named her Snookgaga Winehouse.
Trends like these will be the butt of jokes 7 years from now
Among the traits of the third child Rodrigo are slicked back hair, a “Tony Montana” accent, destructive impulses culminating in theft and acts of terrorism, and the attitude of a gangster. Now before you think I’m sitting on a high horse let me say that I think any of this could have been made harmlessly funny in the right context. Humor is an amazing thing, and when done right it can be used to lampoon any number of subjects. However, like Jonah Hill’s character, Rodrigo is given almost no backstory or character development to show us where he came from, making his function little more than ” somebody different looking to laugh at”.
Casual Racism makes Panda sad
The film sets up an insurmountable number of obstacles for Jonah Hill to overcome, not the least of which is the multiple criminal offenses that he and the children should surely be charged with. These characters get away with stealing two cars, smashing one of them, covering the other with cocaine, kidnapping children, and blowing up (and robbing) a jewelry store. The filmmakers don’t even have the courtesy to offer an explanation for how they get away with any of this; they just say at the end that everything was fine and move on. I’m aware that it is a stupid movie, but they could have at least given a stupid explanation.
The Six-Pack is rounded out with director David Gordon-Green, who managed to make his previous film Your Highness seem like comedy gold in comparison. Allow me to restate my point: Your Highness; a film whose idea of “humor” translated as “severed Minotaur Penis”, actually ends up being a more enjoyable and creative comedy…. Take that for what you will.
You’ll get bigger laughs at the ER.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: when Rodrigo blows something up/breaks something
Take a Drink: when any of the children swear
Take a Shot: when Sam Rockwell dances