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MOVIE INFO

Director:
David Gordon Green
Cast:
Jonah Hill, Max Records, Landry Bender, Kevin Hernandez, Ari Gaynor, Sam Rockwell, J.B. Smoove, Method Man
Writing Credits:
Brian Gatewood, Alessandro Tanaka

Tagline:
Need a Sitter?

Synopsis:
Adventures in Babysitting meets Superbad in this raunchy comedy starring Jonah Hill as Noah, a suspended college student who becomes the unlikely - and unqualified - sitter to his neighbor's children (Max Records, Landry Bender, Kevin Hernandez). But his girlfriend's (Ari Gaynor) promise of sex in exchange for cocaine forces Noah to bring the kids along on a wild trek across the city, pursued by a psychotic drug dealer (Sam Rockwell). With J.B. Smoove and Method Man.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$9.851 million on 2750 screens.
Domestic Gross
$30.538 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 81 min. (Theatrical Version) / 87 min. (Unrated Cut)
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 3/20/2012

Bonus:
• Both Theatrical and Unrated Versions of the Film
• Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes
• Gag Reel
• “Sits-N-Giggles”
• “For Your Consideration”
• “The Making of The Sitter” Featurette
• “Jonah the Producer” Featurette
• Sneak Peeks and Trailer


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Sitter [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 28, 2012)

A few years back, Eddie Murphy earned his first-ever Oscar nomination for his role in Dreamgirls. He didn’t win, and many felt this occurred because his next flick - Norbit - was so offensive and awful that it turned the voters against him.

Jonah Hill received his first-ever Oscar nod for 2011’s Moneyball but also didn’t win. In between that flick and the ceremony, he starred in The Sitter, a crass, “R”-rated teen comedy. Did this scotch his chances? Probably not – while not a great film, at least Sitter never becomes a jaw-dropping catastrophe ala Norbit.

Suspended from college, Noah Griffith (Hill) mooches off his mom Sandy (Jessica Hecht) and doesn’t do a whole lot with himself. She convinces him to baby-sit for a local couple, so he finds himself stuck with three dysfunctional kids. We meet neurotic, anxious 13-year-old Slater (Max Records), semi-psychotic El Salvadoran adoptee Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez) and pre-teen wannabe party girl Blithe (Landry Bender).

As he settles down for an annoying but presumably uneventful evening with these kids, Noah gets a call from Marisa (Ari Graynor), his would-be girlfriend who really just uses him. She promises him a long-awaited sexual escapade if he brings her some cocaine. With a little something-something in his grasp, Noah goes against his better judgment. Noah “borrows” a car and heads out to buy some coke – with the kids in tow, of course. Multiple adventures ensue.

I first encountered director David Gordon Green via 2000’s George Washington, and that film left me decidedly unimpressed; I thought it was a rambling, pretentious mess. I didn’t see anything from Green again until 2008’s Pineapple Express, and that one also failed to do anything for me. Oh, I liked it better than George Washington, but that doesn’t mean much; Express was a pretty lousy excuse for a comedy.

Since then, however, I developed a bit more affection for Green via his work on the Eastbound and Down series. While that show didn’t dazzle me, I liked it, so I managed to see that maybe – just maybe – Green could deliver some quality comedy after all.

Sitter continues that rehabilitation, though no one should consider it to be a terribly original film. Actually, it continues the raunchy, anarchic spirit of Pineapple Express, though with one major difference: Sitter provides some actual laughs.

And a fair amount of them, too. While I’d not call it any form of comedy classic, it offers surprising entertainment value, especially given its inherent lack of originality. If one wants to regard Sitter as a raunchier reworking of 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting, feel free – you’d be pretty correct. The Blu-ray’s extras don’t discuss the connections between the two, but I find it hard to believe the filmmakers weren’t aware of the earlier movie and that it had no influence over this one.

Not that Sitter’s influences stop there. It reminds us of plenty of movies in the “one crazy night” vein and also reflects “suburban kid in over his head” efforts like Risky Business.

Although Sitter lacks an original story or character point in its entire running time, I must admit it’s still pretty funny. Does it err along the way? Sure, especially when it embraces schmaltz. Although I normally like movies with good character arcs, sometimes they become a negative, and that’s the case here. All of the lead characters Learn Important Lessons along the movie’s way, and those often feel tacked-on and cheesy. It would’ve been fine to just have Noah and the kids bond without all the “meaningful life lessons” and whatnot; those feel out of place and detract from the comedy.

Nonetheless, Sitter is just warped and goofy enough to bring on the laughs. Hill has matured a lot as an actor since he made his first big impression three years earlier in Superbad. I can’t say he puts his Oscar-nominated chops to work here, but he seems more confident and self-assured as a comedic performer. In earlier films, he overdid gags and became annoying, but here he sells the material quite well.

Add to that a strong supporting cast – with some hilarious scenes between villains played by JB Smoove and Sam Rockwell – and Sitter turns into a solid comedy. It comes with fits and starts, but there’s more than enough amusing material on display here to make it a relative winner.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

The Sitter appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This wasn’t a poor image, but it seemed spottier than expected.

Sharpness became the major issue. Much of the film showed good clarity and accuracy, but more than a handful of soft shots materialized, and these caused distractions. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to create problems, as this was a clean transfer.

In terms of colors, Sitter tended to stay with a natural palette. Occasional stylized moments emerged, but these didn’t dominate, so I couldn’t point out any specific prominent tint. Overall, the colors appeared pretty clear and concise. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. Most of the image worked well, but the more than occasional soft spots made it a “C+”.

At least the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Sitter seemed more consistently satisfying, if not dazzling. The film came with a few action scenes, and those fleshed out the spectrum reasonably well. They added a bit of pizzazz to the proceedings and helped fill out the room. The back speakers mostly focused on general ambience, though a few of those louder scenes opened up the proceedings pretty well and used the surrounds in an effective manner. At no point did the mix really impress, but it had decent involvement to it.

Audio quality was always good. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music followed suit. The score was consistently lively and full. Effects also demonstrated nice vivacity and accuracy, with decent bass response along the way. This was a perfectly solid mix for a comedy with occasional action overtones.

With that we head to the extras. Note that the Blu-ray includes two cuts of the film. It gives us the Theatrical Version (1:21:14) as well as an unrated “Totally Irresponsible Edition” (1:27:04). I’d love to tell you the differences, but since I only watched the longer version and this represented my initial viewing of the flick, I can’t relate the changes. Nonetheless, I wanted to mention the presence of the two cuts.

10 Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes run a total of 25 minutes, 54 seconds. Of these, five are extended, four are deleted, and we finish with an alternate ending. (Some of the “deleted” sequences will become “extended” if you watch the unrated edition of the film, though.)

The cut material gives us a mix of highs and lows. On the negative side, there’s a much too long intro to Noah and Marisa; it ladles out exposition and drags. The alternate ending seems fairly lame, too, and doesn’t add anything entertaining.

Otherwise, we find some amusing material. “Karl’s Back Room” seems pretty good, if just because we get more of the delightful chemistry between Sam Rockwell and JB Smoove, and those two also help make some of the other clips enjoyable. Though spotty, the clips are worth a look.

Next comes a two-minute, 37-second Gag Reel. It mostly delivers the usual goofs and giggles, but a few alternate lines pop up as well. Those add a bit of value to the enterprise.

Under Sits-N-Giggles, we get a three-minute, nine-second compilation. This shows more alternate lines. These are usually pretty meh, but we get a few fun reads.

For Your Consideration gives us another piece from the set. It runs one minute, one second and lets us see Green as he feeds lines to actor Landry Bender. Like its predecessors, it provides some minor entertainment.

After this we get a behind the scenes featurette. The Making of The Sitter fills 15 minutes, 23 seconds with comments from actor/executive producer Jonah Hill, director David Gordon Green, and actors Landry Bender, Max Records, Kevin Hernandez, JB Smoove, and Sam Rockwell. They discuss a few aspects of shooting the film, but don’t expect much hard data. Instead, this one remains pretty light and it usually sticks with shots from the set. Those are reasonably interesting but not great.

Finally, Jonah the Producer goes for four minutes, 59 seconds and includes Hill and producer Michael De Luca. We see Hill’s work on the set, with everything played for laughs. It becomes mildly amusing and that’s about it.

The disc opens with ads for The Three Stooges, Immortals and This Means War. These also pop under Sneak Peek along with a clip for Wilfred. The Blu-ray throws in the trailer for Sitter as well.

Though I can’t say I’ve been a big fan of either Jonah Hill or director David Gordon Green, the pair combine to make a darned funny movie with The Sitter. Despite a theme that’s been beaten to death and some sections that occasionally sag, the film has plenty of good laughs to carry it. The Blu-ray provides positive audio but picture quality seems a little iffy, and the supplements are hit or miss as well. While I’m not bowled over by the Blu-ray, the flick’s fun enough for my recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main