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The Sitter (2011)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 3/20/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/28/2012
It's happened to all of us -- You see a trailer for a movie and immediately say, "I didn't know that they were remaking ______." or "Wow! That looks like a rip-off of ______." Hollywood will brazenly advertise these movies and assume that the audience either has no memory or simply doesn't care that a new movie looks a little too much like an old movie without actually being an authorized or official remake. Obviously, this illustrates the dire lack of original ideas in the film industry and it also shows how they feel like they can market anything, especially if a hot star is in the film. In the case of The Sitter, I get the feeling that the powers-that-be felt that the target audience was too young to wonder if this movie was supposed to be a remake of a minor classic from the 80s.
Jonah Hill stars in The Sitter as Noah Griffith, an unemployed college drop-out who lives with his mother, Sandy (Jessica Hecht). Sandy is set to go to a party with her friends, the Pedulla's, but those plans are jeopardized when their babysitter cancels. Sandy convinces Noah to take the job, so he reluctantly goes to the Pedullah household where he meets Slater (Max Records), a neurotic boy, Blithe (Landry Bender), a pre-teen who acts like a twentysomething party girl, and Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez), an adopted boy who likes to blow things up. Noah is left in charge of these three children who immediately begin to misbehave. Marisa (Ari Graynor), Noah's sort of girlfriend calls to say that she's at a party and she wants Noah to come. Noah decides to load the kids in the mini-van and head into New York City to see Marisa. This begins a night of misadventures where Noah will face drug-dealers, a bar full of toughs, and estranged parents, all the while trying to keep track of a trio of unruly kids.
I didn't scan every single line of the closing credits of The Sitter, but I didn't see "Based on/suggested by Adventures in Babysitting" jumping out at me. But, there's no doubt that this movie is nearly a carbon-copy of that 1987 film which was Chris Columbus' directorial debut. In that film, a young woman gets stood up on a date, so she reluctantly takes a job babysitting for two kids (a boy and a girl) and the boy's buddy. When her friend calls from downtown (Chicago, not New York) to come get her, she piles the kids into the car and heads into the city where she runs into criminals and car trouble and learns that her relationship isn't as steady as she thought it was. So, The Sitter simply plays as a modern, raunchier version of this same idea.
OK, let's forget for the moment that this appears to be an authorized remake of another movie (which isn't easy) -- how does it fare on its own? The answer is, not very good. Lack of originality aside, the movie is simply too pedestrian for its own good. There's rarely anything clever going on here and the movie always goes for the most obvious joke. The storyline offers no twists and once the basic premise is established, there are no surprises. The pacing is often slack and the movie becomes quite repetitive at times. I wasn't a fan of Director David Gordon Green'sPineapple Express, and he didn't do anything to impress me here.
The movie does boast a good cast, but they don't do much. Jonah Hill plays the same character which he's played in other films -- a foul-mouthed yet slightly neurotic white guy who somehow thinks that he's cool. Ari Graynor, who seems to pop up everywhere, plays a very stereotypical girlfriend who likes to use people. The most annoying character is Karl, a drug dealer played by Sam Rockwell who is channeling every crazy character which he's every played (Charlie's Angels, The Green Mile, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, etc.) This performance would have been much more surprising and impressive if he'd played Karl as being incredibly calm. The only interesting character is Blithe. While she may be annoying to most audience members, trust me, there is a very strong kernel of truth to her behavior.
In the end, The Sitter wants to be harmless, dumb fun, but it always feels like a gigantic waste. The filmmakers should have opted for a more original story instead of opting for something which was going to ring so near and dear to a certain segment of the audience. The actors were more deserving of a script which tried to do something new with the tired material. There are a few light chuckles in The Sitter, but most of the movie should be left home alone.
The Sitter has an inaccurate but funny reference to The Shining on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing on intrusive grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is fairly good, but the picture gets a bit soft at times. The depth is good, as the characters are nicely separated from the background. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are nicely detailed and highlight sounds coming from off-screen. The surround sound effects come to life during the action scenes and the in-film music fills the speakers. Gunshots and car wrecks provided well-balanced subwoofer effects.
The Sitter Blu-ray Disc contains an array of extras. The Disc contains ten DELETED/ALTERNATE/EXTENDED SCENES which run about 26 minutes. Most of these are simply longer versions of scenes from the finished film. The only completely new thing here is an alternate version of the ending, otherwise, there are some funny moments, but no new characters or subplots. We get a 3-minute GAG REEL. "Sits-N-Giggles" (3 minutes) is a reel of alternate lines. "For Your Consideration" is a 1-minute shot of Landry Bender beatboxing. OK... "The Making of The Sitter" (15 minutes) is almost 90% on-set video, some of which follows Hill around, and some of which is simply fly-on-the-wall video showing the crew at work. We also get comments from Green and the cast who talk about their experiences on the movie. "Jonah the Producer" (5 minutes) shows Hill on-set working with the cast in a supervisory role...now that's scary! The final extra is the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long