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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: The Sitter

March 23rd, 2012

The Sitter - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack

The Sitter came out in early December, which is not a bad time of year to release a film, but it bombed opening with less than $10 million and finishing with just over $30 million. Granted, when it opened, the overall box office was in an extended slump. So perhaps the film was a victim of a weak market. Or perhaps it was just a bad movie.

The Movie

Jonah Hill plays Noah Griffith, a 20 something whose life should be pretty good. He has a beautiful girlfriend, Marisa, he's going to college, he's becoming an adult. Actually, he was recently suspended from college. Also, he still lives with his mom, he has no job, and doesn't have a car. Plus, his girlfriend is just using him. Yeah, his life is going nowhere.

His mom is more than a little worried about his life being stuck in neutral, but at least she's got something going on. Her friend, Mrs. Pedulla, is taking her to a charity event and is going to introduce her to a surgeon. At least that was the plan. When Mrs. Pedulla's babysitter cancels, they have to cancel their plans to go to the fundraiser, unless they can find a replacement. ... One short guilt trip later, and Noah agrees to baby sit Slater, Blithe, and Rodrigo. It should be a really boring night; after all, they are just three kids and he's an adult, sort of. Granted, each of the kids have their own issues. 13-year old Slater has serious anxiety issues. 11-year old Blithe is going through a "celebutante" phase, as her mother describes it. Also according to her mom, she's dressing like a hooker. Finally there's the newly adopted Rodrigo, who has been having problems adapting to his new home.

This should have been a really boring night with Noah pretending to be a babysitter for these three kids. However, Marisa calls. She's at a party and wants to have sex with him. There's just one more complication. She asks him to bring her some cocaine. So he packs up the kids, steals their mom's car, and heads to New York City. It doesn't take long for this bad plan to backfire, but the details of that are spoilers.

The Sitter earned 21% positive reviews, and that's about right. It only manages to work about 21% of the time. The film swings from, "Trying too hard to be edgy" to "Trying too hard to be sentimental" and only occasionally does it find the right tone. Unfortunately, this takes a while to happen, and the opening third of the film is dreadfully slow and dull and has no flow. The extended version of the movie is only 82 minutes long, not counting end credits, but there are 26 minutes of deleted / extended / alternate scenes in the special features. This makes me think that after they made the movie, they realized they didn't have a hit and had to take a hatchet to the film during the editing process.

Additionally, what was left was not particularly original. You know there's going to be a sentimental moment with each of the three kids and that Noah is eventually going to learn to grow up and get his life back on track. Even Marissa learns a valuable lesson. However, many of the characters spend too much time being unsympathetic (Noah, Marisa, Rodrigo, especially Rodrigo) that when they did have their big turnaround, I no longer cared. The humorous and the more action oriented parts of the movie weren't able to carry the film, as it didn't have an emotional heart.

The Extras

Extras on the DVD include the aforementioned deleted / extended / alternate scenes, plus 3 minutes of outtake and 3 minutes of improvised lines. Landry Bender does some beatboxing and other random things for a minute in For Your Consideration. She also gets a disproportionate amount of attention in The Making of 'The Sitter'. I'm not complaining, as she is one of the funniest parts of the movie. And finally there's the five-minute Jonah the Producer.

There are no Blu-ray exclusives, not unless you count the BD-Live portal and bookmarks. Additionally, the Blu-ray looks and sounds good, but not great. There are no obvious problems with the audio or video, but it's not a visually stunning movie, nor is the audio intensive. It is a step up from the DVD, but I'm not sure it is worth paying an extra $6 for.

The Verdict

The Sitter is a misfire. Putting Jonah Hill in charge of a trio of kids should have produced a lot of laughs, but a lazy script and a lack of a consistent tone sunk the movie. The DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack are not devoid of extras, but there's not enough here to lift it to a purchase.

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Filed under: Video Review, The Sitter