The Sitter

The Sitter

2011, R, 82 min. Directed by David Gordon Green. Starring Jonah Hill, Max Records, Kevin Hernandez, Landry Bender, Sam Rockwell, Ari Graynor, J.B. Smoove, Kylie Bunbury.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Dec. 16, 2011

I hate to join the chorus of nags, but come on, Gordon Green: Stop dinking around. I say this with great respect and affection for the still-young filmmaker's admirably eclectic body of work, which ranges from early arthouse films like George Washington and All the Real Girls – back when, quite crucially I think, he was still authoring or co-authoring his own scripts – to a recent, more commercially minded period that kicked off with 2008's Pineapple Express and was followed by this spring's Your Highness. That last one was a roundly roasted ode to Eighties fantasy epics; I personally found it to be a wonderfully silly spot of fun. But Gordon Green's latest feature exercise in backwards-glancing, The Sitter, is a nonstarter. It recalls its genre antecedents (think After Hours and Adventures in Babysitting) in concept – here, Jonah Hill plays a reluctant babysitter lugging three kids in a minivan through Brooklyn while dodging a sulky drug dealer (Sam Rockwell) – but never gets at the same itchy spirit of anarchy. There's real energy to the way Gordon Green and Cinematographer Tim Orr lens the nighttime cityscapes, but the film's set-pieces are static, built on predictable bits (from screenwriters Brian Gatewood & Alessandro Tanaka) of cocaine explosions and kids mouthing off like minigangstas. I liked Hill's mellow-keyed delivery, and the emotional scenes are quite delicately played. I admit to about a half-dozen moments of high-pitched "heh!" – sort of a duck-honk approximation of amusement, I guess – but for a comedy, The Sitter is frightfully spare on full-bodied laughs.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More David Gordon Green
An Ungentrified Man
An Ungentrified Man
David Gordon Green wraps up his Texas trilogy with Manglehorn

Richard Whittaker, July 3, 2015

Greener Pastures
Greener Pastures
Texas Film Award honoree David Gordon Green is just gonna keep doing his own thing

Kimberley Jones, Feb. 28, 2014

More David Gordon Green
The Aftermath of the Big Headline: <i>Stronger</i>
The Aftermath of the Big Headline: Stronger
David Gordon Green talks about the unlucky bystander to history

Marjorie Baumgarten, Oct. 3, 2017

First Trailer Released for <i>Our Brand Is Crisis</i>
First Trailer Released for Our Brand Is Crisis
Sandra Bullock and David Gordon Green head to Bolivia

Josh Kupecki, Sept. 8, 2015

More David Gordon Green Films
The Exorcist: Believer
David Gordon Green moves from Halloween to another massive horror franchise

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 6, 2023

Halloween Ends
Jamie Lee Curtis stars in her umpteenth face-off with a retirement-age Michael Myers

Trace Sauveur, Oct. 21, 2022

More by Kimberley Jones
Hit Man
Glen Powell co-wrote this real-life wild tale of a professor who goes undercover as a fake hitman

May 24, 2024

We Have an Issue: <i>Chronicle</i> Earns Six AAN Nominations
We Have an Issue: Chronicle Earns Six AAN Nominations
Finalists announced in reporting, design, marketing categories

May 24, 2024

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Sitter, David Gordon Green, Jonah Hill, Max Records, Kevin Hernandez, Landry Bender, Sam Rockwell, Ari Graynor, J.B. Smoove, Kylie Bunbury

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle