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Review: 'The Sitter'

'Tis not the season for this abomination!

I knew that sooner or later, I’d see the absolute worst film of my life. Well, that’s one item I can now cross off my personal “bucket list." I’ve seen it and it ain’t pretty, and if this review will keep a bunch of nice, respectable people from sharing my fate, then perhaps I’ve served some purpose. Santa—are you listening? 

The Sitter (oh-I wish I could insert the letter “h” in the title somewhere) is not just bad or awful or terrible; it’s reprehensible, sexist, racist, homophobic, stupid, insulting and boring. Oh, I didn’t like it either. 

  • The Sitter is one of the movies playing this week at .

Hard to fathom why this wretched piece of garbage ever was green-lighted by the powers that be. Because it stars Jonah Hill? I am a fan of this actor. He was simply wonderful in Money Ball this past summer and might even earn an Oscar nod for that nuanced, funny performance. In The Sitter, he comes off as crass, dumb, opportunistic, selfish and even dangerous. A baby-sitter who casually takes his three charges on a walpurgisnacht of drug dealing, thug hunting, joy riding through the meanest streets of New York—c’mon folks.  Not funny! No way, no how. Uh-uh!!

Mercifully, this nightmare lasts a scant 1 hour and 20 minutes and even that seemed like cruel and unusual punishment. Remember that classic scene in Mel Brooks The Producers when the cast of “Springtime for Hitler” is performing the big show-stopping number, complete with a chorus line of swastika-armed babes? The camera pans to a shot of the first-night audience, all with their jaws dropped, staring in dumb silence. That was how it was like watching this insipid drivel. 

There is not a moment that is relatable to any human experience I can think of.  An alien from some distant galaxy might have made better sense of the action than this hapless reviewer. I am all for a good over-the-top, no holds barred, even racy, raunchy comedy. Even in that genre, there has to be some ground rules: e.g. plot, likeability of the protagonists, a snippet of logic, development, resolution. The screenwriters (and I use that word reluctantly) should be forced to memorize Aristotle’s Poetics before setting fingers to FADE IN: again. 

But it’s my job to describe, so here goes. Jonah Hill’s Noah is forced to babysit or his divorced mom will have to cancel her blind date set up by married friends of hers. The three kids are all text-book cute if that text book is Psychopathia Sexualis

The youngest is a fashionista obsessed little girl; her brother, a budding neurotic, possibly gay, pill-popper; and the third, a recently adopted boy from El Salvador with a toilet-exploding-demolition fixation. In truth, the kids are terrific actors and hopefully they’ll get better roles to show off their skills in future films. Most winning, albeit intolerable is Kevin Hernandez as the adopted terrorist-wannabe Rodrigo who manages to get our sympathy towards the end. 

But you get the idea. Avoid this like the plague. You’ll be glad you did. Bah! Humbug!

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Jeff Klayman is an award-winning playwright whose works have been produced in New York, Los Angeles and London. He also wrote the screenplay for the independent film Adios, Ernesto, directed by Mervyn Willis.

 

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