Looking at director David Gordon Green’s post-naval gazing indie output, The Sitter might be his best yet. That’s a bit of a back-handed compliment, since our sample size consists of the duo of weed opuses that are Pineapple Express and the unrepentantly awful Your Highness. What works best about The Sitter is that it’s the most straight-forward of these films. What we get instead of Pineapple Express’ bloated nature or the complete dud that is Your Highness is a succinct — if none too original — reworking of Chris Columbus’ Adventures in Babysitting. More so, it’s a film that plays as a loving tribute to the ’80s teen flicks of John Hughes and the like. Here, we follow the same basic plot of Columbus’ film: A babysitter (in this case Jonah Hill instead of Elisabeth Shue) heads out into the big city with the kids he’s watching and gets into a variety of decidedly more R-rated misadventures. Mostly, this just means decidedly stronger language and a plot that revolves around our protagonists being hunted down by a crazed, eccentric coke dealer (Sam Rockwell). Sandwiched in between the random bouts of vulgarity, there’s nary a weed joke to be found (what has happened to your filmography when you’re being praised for not being such a pothead for once?), while the characters are all drawn surprisingly well. The cast, too, is strong. Hill finally gets a wholly likable character in a comedy, while Rockwell’s coked up, and often emotionally needy, antagonist — complete with a cadre of bodybuilding henchmen — is one of the year’s better villainous creations.
Director: David Gordon Green
Writer: Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka
Producer: Michael De Luca
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, Miriam McDonald, Erin Daniels, Method Man, Max Records, Dreama Walker, J.B. Smoove and D.W. Moffett