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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Sitter (review)

The Sitter Landry Bender Kevin Hernandez Max Records Jonah Hill

I’m starting to wonder, truly and sincerely, if David Gordon Green is suffering from one of those brain tumors that radically alters one’s personality. It’s the only explanation for how he could go from making sensitive indie dramas to a series of studio “comedies” in which he continually one-ups himself for awfulness. I didn’t think a flick could be worse than Green’s rapey medieval “romp” Your Highness, but The Sitter tries its damnedest, with its oversexualized grade-school diva who isn’t merely appalling within the context of the (flimsy) story but actually makes me wonder whether the things young actress Landry Bender had to do and say and sing on set didn’t constitute a sort of child abuse. (Surely this film would not have been possible prior to the rise of Toddlers and Tiaras and the willingness of stage parents to let their small children participate in the most unspeakably inappropriate sex-charades.) And then there’s the more customary, for this sort of lowbrowest of lowbrow cartoons, spectacle of children (also including Max Records [Where the Wild Things Are] and Kevin Hernandez) behaving like absolute monsters and being indulged for it, as well as the emasculation of their babysitter (Jonah Hill: Moneyball), in not only being forced to do “woman’s work” in babysitting but also in being taken sexual advantage of by his “girlfriend” (Ari Graynor: What’s Your Number?). It’s the prospect that she might finally let him stick his penis into her vagina that impels him to drag his ghastly little charges around New York into some of the most dangerous places the city has to offer in the search for some cocaine for her, in exchange for which he will receive sex. (So add prostituting himself to his list of humiliations.) By the time we come to the end of this cheap, lazy story about horrible people doing terrible things, a gooey dollop of sentimentality is supposed to make us suddenly find the whole thing sweet and adorable and heartfelt. Seriously: someone check Green’s frontal lobe and get him some treatment before he commits cinema again.

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watch at home

The Sitter (2011)
US/Can release: Dec 9 2011
UK/Ire release: Jan 20 2012

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated A for its assemblage of appallingly awful acts
MPAA: rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and some violence
BBFC: rated 15 (contains strong language and sex references)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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