The discussion of director David Gordon Green’s career in the past five years has already been discussed before with the release of Your Highness. Green’s first several films had a sincere style that portrayed the American working class in local spheres that were low-middle-class at best. Since Pineapple Express Green’s films have been more and more raunchy, scatological, and targeted toward more mainstream demographics. Watching the decline of a promising artist become a cog in the Hollywood machine is too much to bear anymore. The Sitter is a forgettable foray into uninspired territory.
Noah’s (Jonah Hill) passive-aggressive lease on life has gotten the best of him. His romantic interest refuses to return sexual favors and his mother pleads with him to get a job. In order for his mother to enjoy her hot date, Noah agrees to babysit for a family friend. Slater Pedulla (Max Records) is a loyal high school GAP customer who suffers from heavy anxiety attacks and wonders why his high school friend refuses to answer his text messages. Blithe Pedulla (Landry Bender) is ready for the glamorous life as a celebrity and yearns to grow up before her time. Then there is Rodrigo. Adopted by the Pedullas, Rodrigo is a firecracker who is not afraid to fight or drop a cherry bomb into a toilet. Noah’s love interest Marisa (Ari Graynor) promises intercourse if he can deliver cocaine to her, and Noah decides to take the kids along for the ride.
It is sadistic to watch a film only to see a formerly beloved director lose his way. Green’s shift from making poetic realist films that had the Terrance Malick touch to stoner comedies was a cumbersome transition at first. Pineapple Express is certainly not a terrible film as it was shot incredibly well, and Green’s work for Eastbound and Down for HBO deserves notice and recognition. In 2011, it all came crashing down. Your Highness and The Sitter has Green scrapping the bottom of the barrel for laughs and story, coming up short on both outings.
Jonah Hill as the privileged, yet downtrodden passive-aggressive hero is beyond tired; he is merely rehashing his character from Superbad. The children characters all provide decent performances for characters who are rather stereotyped and borderline racist. The film has everything you expect from the trailer. Hill yelling at the poorly behaved children, realizing that his struggles and the struggles of the kids he is taking care of are not too much different and a loyal bond brings them all together. There is no new territory here, The Sitter is as formulaic as it comes.
Green was a promising young talent that emerged with George Washington and All The Real Girls. There is no telling how and why this fall from grace has occurred over a decade, but it is becoming difficult find the strength to see the next film from this director. It is doubtful that there is any notion that Green will return to his Pineapple days, but I can no longer stand by and wait for something that may never come.