IN "THE SITTER," Jonah Hill and David Gordon Green deliver a massively raunchy update of the B-movie miniclassic "Adventures in Baby Sitting."
"Sitter" is, from its bawdy opening sequence (watch out, Mom and Dad), a decidedly more vulgar movie, but I wouldn't say funnier.
Hill plays a college dropout who, against his will, ends up sitting for a neighbor's three kids. The laughs are built around the idea that Hill's shiftless, irresponsible character is completely ill-suited for the task at hand.
The movie also draws on the note of misanthropic anger that Hill, as opposed to, say, Seth Rogen, brings to his comedic roles (i.e., "Cyrus").
Hill's character essentially takes the suburban children hostage while he endeavors to hook up with a hot blonde, who wants him to procure cocaine, leading to misadventures with an eccentric drug dealer (Sam Rockwell).
Green's comedy works best when it ventures into the surreal - Rockwell's character keeps his cocaine in Fabergé dinosaur eggs and surrounds himself with bodybuilders and roller-skating slaves.
"Sitter" falters when it asks Hill to build a legitimate emotional bonds with the three children - an anxiety-stricken teenage boy, a celebrity-obsessed little girl, and an adopted Latino boy who is unnaturally interested in amateur bomb-building.
Scenes of Hill's reluctant babysitter ministering to the children with wisdom and warmth fall flat.
"Sitter" can also be compared, unfavorably, to "Superbad" or "Get Him to the Greek," both of which feature Hill in a one-crazy- night, picturesque comic adventure. You can feel in "Sitter" that Hill is getting tired of this routine, that he wants to shed his own skin.
And, if you've seen him making the rounds of the talk shows, you know he's shed some pounds. Hill is svelte and coiffed, and showed up on Jon Stewart wearing a tailored suit and tie.
All of these things, along with his subtle performance in "Moneyball," seem to indicate that Hill is ready to move on. So does his been-there, done-that work in "The Sitter."