Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Sitter - Movie Review

Before I get started talking about The Sitter, I wanted to briefly talk about a few trailers I saw before the movie.

I saw a new trailer for American Reunion and it actually looked much funnier than the first trailer I saw, which looked really lame.  The writing and directing team did the last Harold and Kumar movie, which I didn't think was that funny, but the new trailer gave me some hope.

Before the American Reunion trailer, they showed the 21 Jump Street trailer, which I also think looks funny.  I did think it was kind weird for them to show this, as it features the now much thinner Jonah Hill.  It's like they were giving you the before and after look at Jonah Hill, but in reverse.

Anyway, Jonah Hill's weight difference has to make you wonder  how long ago The Sitter was made, because Jonah looks like he did around the time Superbad was made.  Like before he even started losing weight.  In fact, he looks heavier in The Sitter then he did during Moneyball, and Moneyball came out earlier.  I know it sounds like I'm picking on the guy's weight, but my point is that a movie like the The Sitter couldn't have needed that much work in post, so I'm guessing this movie had been shelved for a while.  That's usually a bad sign and done for a good reason: It's a bad movie.

It seems really odd to me this would get released around the holidays, as this isn't a family movie and there's nothing holiday themed about it.  This seems like a much better release for somewhere in that Aug-October time frame.  It probably would have been received a little better.

The opening scene sets the tone for what you're in for, it starts with Jonah Hill's character, Noah, going down on a girl.  He then leaves frustrated because the girl won't reciprocate.  They show him as being a really nice guy, even a bit of a nerd.  But then in the very next scene, you see him being just a lazy-ass around the house and a mooch off his Mom.  Apparently, he was suspended from college, but I recall that they ever said why.  He seemed genuinely interested in what he was studying, so again, it's not clear why he's back home.

This is one of the big problems of The Sitter: it's not consistent at all.  The first few minutes of the movie have Noah going from being a super nice guy that's getting taken advantage of, to a lazy mooch, to a then an irresponsible punk.  Later in the film, he's suddenly ultra-cool in situations where his previous behavior would seem to indicate he wouldn't be able to act that way.  It's like they tried to take all the personality traits from every character he's played in the past and throw them all into one character, but just not done well at all.

After the opening scene, Noah is tasked with babysitting the kids of his mother's friend.  He only agrees to do this, because he needs the money and this is the only way his mother will be able to get out of the house for a date.  Fair enough.  Shortly after he starts babysitting the kids, the girl from the opening scene calls him and basically says, 'I'll have sex with you tonight if you can get over here and bring me some coke.'  This is one of the parts I'm talking about.  How frigging irresponsible are you that while babysitting kids, you think it's a good idea to take them out on a cocaine run so you can get laid later?  It makes me not like the Noah at all.

As you'd guess, things don't go right and then you watch him run around trying find the kids as they escape from his watch, avoid people he's angered throughout the night, get his car back (which of course gets stolen), avoid the drug dealer that's after him, etc.  You've seen this all before.  It's not original at all.

You've got characters conveniently dropping in and out throughout the movie when the script calls for it.  People don't seem to have any issues getting around very quickly in New York at night in The Sitter.  It's the kind of movie that if you like things to make sense, then it will probably bug you.

Another cliche here is that everyone gets to learn a lesson or grow from this experience.  It's frustrating to watch, because it all happens so quickly and it doesn't really seemed earned.  Even though the kids all seemed to be stereotypes, I actually didn't mind them.  They looked a little annoying in the trailer, but they didn't ruin the movie for me.

How in the hell did they get Sam Rockwell to be in this?  He plays the drug dealer in the movie, and he's just about the only thing I liked about it.  He's way too good for this movie.  J.B. Smoove is wasted here as well.  He cracked me up on Curb Your Enthusiasm, but he just doesn't have anything to do here.

I really can't blame any of the actors.  They're only doing what they are asked of.  It's all bad editing, a bad screenplay and bad direction.  It probably doesn't help that the writers, Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, are first-time feature writers.  This story desperately needed some punch-up from an experienced comedy writer.

There are a handful of laughs in this movie, and I can only remember a smattering of laughs from the audience throughout the movie.  One of the few things that did make me laugh was that one of the kids always seemed to be watching a really bad 80's film on TV.  At one point I'm pretty sure he was watching Gymkata, and another time I know he was watching the Dolph Lundgren masterpiece, I Come in Peace.  "And you go in pieces!"  Classic!

Speaking of the 80's, this is another movie that featured a predominately 80's soundtrack.  I'm kind of getting tired of that in movies not set in the 80's.  It's starting to feel hipsterish.  Let me ironically put bad songs from my youth in a movie!  That'll be funny.  Adam Sandler does this a lot, as well.

I'm surprised that this was directed by David Gordon Green, who as the commercials advertise, was the director of Pineapple Express.  Pineapple Express isn't a great movie, but it's much funnier than this and at worse, I'd call it a guilty pleasure.  He's directed some episodes of Eastbound & Down, which is a funny show, but also directed Your Highness.  Now Your Highness is was I'd call a guilty pleasure, as it's not a good movie, but I still thought it was funny.

Make no mistake, The Sitter is a bad movie.  It's unoriginal, edited poorly, plays on bad stereotypes and is cliched as hell.  The characters don't behave with any kind of consistency or logic.  It's not so bad that it's insulting, but it's just not funny or worth recommending.  This is one of those movies where the trailers and the commercials basically showed you everything that was funny, so that should be enough for most of you.  It's maybe worth renting in a few months, but skip it for now.

I give it 2 Death Stars (out of 5).

You like that?  I starting with a Death Star rating system.  I was thinking of using a lightsaber, but then I thought the play on the star rating system with Death Star was funnier.  Let me know which you prefer though.  I'm open to suggestions.  I need to make up some jpegs or animated gifs for the rating system.  If you know anyone that can help me out with that let me know. 

Oh, and I have no plans on seeing New Years Eve either.  Seriously?  It's a retread of Valentines Day and even has the same writer and director.  Valentine's Day was a terrible movie and New Years Eve looks just as bad.  What's the next movie going to be?  St. Patty's Day?  Memorial Day?

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