Jonah Hill rides out one outrageously wild night in this hilarious comedy from the director of Pineapple Express. Suburban slacker Noah (Hill) is watching a neighbor's kids when he gets a booty call from his horny girlfriend in the city. To hook up with her, Noah takes to the streets, but his urban adventure spins out of control as he finds himself on the run from a maniacal druglord. Raunchy laughs and insane action - it's all in a night's work for The Sitter.
The Sitter may be the last movie featuring the "heavy" version of Jonah Hill. With the many pounds he's since lost, many movie-industry minds are wondering if the Jonah Hill-ness of his screen persona, flaunted so prodigiously in the likes of Knocked Up, Get Him to the Greek, and Superbad, has disappeared from the scales too. But until Jonah 2.0 gets his chance, The Sitter couldn't capture his trash-talking, man-child, king-of-comeback essence more boldly, more lovingly, or with such blatant vulgarity. Hill plays Noah, a jobless twentysomething layabout still living with his divorced mom along with the delusion that he has a hot girlfriend (she only keeps him around for oral talents that are unrelated to speech). As a favor that might help Mom with her own sad love life, he agrees to a one-night babysitting stand for the neighbors and their three wildly dissimilar but equally messed-up children. The night progresses through slapstick, farce, adventure, romance, danger, pathos, and eventual catharsis for everyone. (Unfortunately there's a touch of maudlin, sentimental corn in the mix too.) The children are as important to the escapades as Noah and are the primary source of his stupid/smooth shtick that mixes clever put-downs, terrified jabbering, and hilariously relentless patter of urban slang vernacular. Noah's spoiled charges are two boys--an anxiety-wracked 13-year-old and a 10-year-old Nicaraguan adoptee with severe anger and pyromania issues--and a precocious 8-year-old-girl who's heavily into makeup, hip-hop, and a score of other age-inappropriate behaviors. As the four of them hurtle deeper into the night, the situations become more antically treacherous with drug dealers, gangster thugs, police officers, and upper-crust snobs as part of the mix, along with their knives, cocaine, diamonds, alcohol, and guns. Director David Gordon Green, whose unusual career has gone from art house (George Washington, All the Real Girls) to raunchy bromance (Pineapple Express, Your Highness), supplants formal technique with the off-kilter and oft-unseemly style of Jonah Hill vs. the world. Green sometimes evokes the flow of surreality that Martin Scorsese took to unnatural ends in After Hours, only with more dirty bits and a lot more full-on crude laughs. Nearly everyone in the large supporting cast makes an excellent foil for the star's constant streetwise riffing, especially Sam Rockwell, who digs in to his role as a psychotic but emotionally conflicted drug dealer always on the lookout for new best friends. But it is Jonah Hill who sits firmly, even heavily in the driver's seat. It's a great place to flash his better-honed actorly chops along with his beloved version 1.0 comedic gift. --Ted Fry