The Sitter is a typical movie of its kind, reminiscent of staples from the late 1980’s, Uncle Buck (1989) and Adventures in Babysitting (1987).
Noah Griffith (Jonah Hill) is a failed, unemployed college student lounging at his mom’s house when an opportunity arises for him to make a little cash babysitting a family friend’s three children.
Griffith’s plan: Collect easy money by spending the bulk of the evening channel surfing. This doesn’t pan out of course. He encounters drug dealers, thugs, and the police while fending for his life and protecting the children.
Whatever trouble the characters encounter resolves in a nice, tightly-wrapped bow at the end, as it usually does. But predictability isn’t the glaring problem with The Sitter. And although the film involves children, the crude language isn’t the killer either.
The problem is it just isn’t funny.
Griffith has few laugh-worthy moments but most are forgettable. He’s still lovable and playful but he doesn’t shine in this crude comedy. His performance is disappointingly tame.
The kids are even less funny. And for a film with a predictable storyline and unnecessary cursing, the least it can do is provide memorable laughs, but instead lulls and buyer’s remorse.
With Jonah as the promotional front man, the film relies heavily on the kids for comic relief. Slater (Max Records), a manic-depressive preppy with a Bieber-esque haircut, Blithe (Landry Bender), a babbling celebrity socialite in training, are more whiny and annoying than humorous.
Keeping things interesting, Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez) is an explosive-loving adoptee from El Salvador, who runs away so often there is a tracking device sewn in his clothes. The kids are successful at making Griffith's job more difficult, but it comes across unnatural and forced.
Even Hill, as the nice guy in this film, is stifled and limited. His Noah Griffith character is nowhere near, and would probably shutter at, Seth from Superbad (2007). He plays a pawn in a one-sided relationship with his rude girlfriend, Marisa (Ari Graynor). Marisa’s manipulative plea for Griffith to buy cocaine “for a friend” is what begins the madness, and sends him and the three children racing through town in a minivan.
The Sitter presents a familiar theme and plot, but fails to deliver. The comedy falls flat, and movie-goers can take the same advice Hill’s character should have taken at the beginning of the film—stay at home in the first place.
The Sitter earns 1 out of 4 stars.
Local show times for The Sitter:
For live shows, check out the renovated Des Plaines Theatre.