Kids at risk!

Misadventures in babysitting. This vulgar and ill-behaved Sitter should be sent to bed without any supper

Jonah Hill stars in The Sitter

Jonah Hill stars in The Sitter

Jonah Hill has real acting chops, shown to good effect when he played opposite Brad Pitt in Moneyball, but also in his role as a malevolent misfit in Cyrus. Mostly, though, the rotund Hill has carved out a niche for himself in raunchy teen comedies like Knocked Up and Superbad where his character combines the attributes of a woebegone loser with a healthy dose of passive-aggressive wit. Nearly 30, Hill seems in no hurry to grow up, at least to judge by his latest flick, which does a mediocre job of ladling dollops of “crass and crazy” onto the old trope of the babysitter who tumbles into a wild night on the town, innocent kids in tow.

The Sitter stars Hill as Noah Griffith, a drifting and self-absorbed college dropout who – very reluctantly – agrees to be a last-minute babysitter for friends of his single-parent mom so that the three of them can go to a fancy event where his mom is looking forward to a first date with a promising fella. A bemused Noah finds himself saddled with an oddball trio of kids: nervous and depressed Slater, a pill-popping 13-year-old; his eight-year-old sister, Blithe, who has a potty mouth and over-dresses like she’s heading to a beauty pageant; and Julio, a recently adopted Guatemalan boy who acts out by setting off small explosives and urinating inappropriately.

The plot kicks in when Noah gets a phone call from a selfish and manipulative sort-of girlfriend. In a wheedling voice she begs him to buy some coke and bring it over to her party; his reward will be a full-on “vaginal sex” hook up. Against strict orders, the sex-starved Noah piles the kids into their parents’ minivan . . . and drives off into a world of trouble, including a crazy drug dealer (a slumming Sam Rockwell) who soon wants to kill him, a menacing crew of black gangbangers, and various smaller misadventures sparked by his misbehaving – but actually nice, and just misunderstood – young charges. Thanks to some of the most implausible plotting of the year, this lazy turkey comes to a predictably sentimental ending, with happier kids and a more responsible Noah.

Is there even any use in pointing out that a few not-so-minor details – such as trashed vehicles, the $4,000 dollars Noah stole from a Jewish girl’s fancy Bat Mitzvah party, as well as the handful of diamonds he filched from his estranged father’s jewelry store, (two thefts designed to mollify the aforementioned drug dealer) – are left completely unresolved? Mostly though, due to uninspired jokes that rarely provoke laughs and certainly don’t build to anything, this vulgar and ill-behaved Sitter should be sent to bed without any supper. M

 

The Sitter ★ ★

Directed by David Gordon Green

Starring: Jonah Hill

R – 100 minutes

Continues at the Odeon and SilverCity

 

Perfectly Potable

Sandhill is one of the premier wineries in the Okanagan, and this veteran producer has a winner with their 2009 Cabernet-Merlot blend, sourced from their Vanessa Vineyard. At nearly 15% alcohol, you know the fruit was sun-kissed to perfect, flavour-rich ripeness. Aromas of raspberry and cherry lead to slightly darker flavours on the palate, including hints of chocolate, spice, and a lick of coffee. Nice finish, too. Not cheap at $20, but definitely worth the splurge.

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