on 18-01-2012 01:56 PM
Also found at Stagg Magazine (h t t p:\\staggmag.wordpress.com)
Starring: Jonah Hill, Sam Rockwell, Max Records, Landry Bender, Kevin Rodriguez
So, it's awards season in the film industry, and Stagg Magazine has found itself elbow deep in glitter and glam. The Golden Globes have come and gone (almost as quickly as Kim Kardashian's marriages) and it's onwards towards the deeply respected BAFTAs and their American counterpart the Oscars.
So when we went to the cinema this time, there was as much selection of groundbreaking (and potentially award winning) films to choose from. Did we go with 12 times BAFTA nominated 'The Artist'? Did we go with potential Oscar winner 'The Iron Lady?' Did we watch Spielberg's latest epic 'War Horse'?
No.We saw a preview of 'The Sitter'.
How to compare this frenzied comedy to the other films we've just mentioned? It's very difficult - after all, this film wouldn't be winning any statues if it was up against the behemoths that are competing for the little golden men this time around. But it wouldn't be natural to find a comedy like this in amongst these straight-shooters.
The initial feel of 'The Sitter' brought back a lot of memories of 'Superbad'. A twisting and surprising journey undertaken by three youths who uncover far more than they were supposed to. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill as the two buddies who pulled each other through the events of the film - and it's comforting to see that Hill is to be found in this too, as if he was brought back to guide a new group through the misdemeanours of a particularly crazy night.
Hill playes Noah (or 'Noah Griffith', as he is repeatedly referred to by his full name), a college drop out who doesn't seem to have any direction to turn to, and a 'girlfriend' who uses him for what little money he has. So, when he gets offered the chance to make some beer money babysitting a unique set of three children, he shrugs his shoulders and says 'why not, what's the worst that could happen?'
Well, it would be a pretty awful film if nothing happened. So when Noah gets sprayed in the mouth with floral perfume right at the start of the film, you feel that A LOT will happen in the relatively short amount of time this film takes.
Hill does well as the lead character in the film, and his comedy delivery is pristine in his unique 'awkward' kind of way. It's worked really well for him in previous movies, and it doesn't let him down here. Not to give too much away, but there is a sequence between Hill and a character called Soulbaby that had the audience in stitches - myself included. I feel that this is the first time he's had this responsibility as the anchor, and he delivers admirably.
But the children he is being paid to babysit are not afraid to take the screen in his place.
First of all, there's Slater - a soft-spoken teenager with pills for his 'issues' and a legion of swooning young girls at his heels. The amazingly named Max Records does fairly well in this role, especially when it doesn't seem like there's much of a character to work with - shy and withdrawn will understandably not light up the screen that often, but he does a good job when called upon.
Then there's Blithe, a girl obsessed with makeup and ludicrously foul-mouthed and suggestive rap and hip-hop, despite looking like she's only 8.To say this is Landry Bender's first major movie role, she's very entertaining, although it's fairly cringeworthy hearing a pre-teen singing along to a song about 'jiggling thighs'. A homage to just what children at that age get subjected to in the media.
And Rodrigo. What can we say about Rodrigo? This boy's a hellraiser. Adopted by the family, he's got an attitude problem as wide as Manhattan and a habit of blowing up toilets with cherry bombs. And his chosen dress code of leather jacket and pyjamas is as unusual as the deadly situations that both babysitter and babysitted find themselves in. Kevin Hernandez puts a lot of mischief into the character and his dead-pan destruction at the beginning of the film is hilarious.
While this film seems to be a rapid sequence of physical violent slapstick, low-key explosions and muscle-bound men pounding walls and cars with sledgehammers, there's also moments of sentimental value, as Hill's Noah dispenses not only comedy but fatherly advice to each of the three children in turn. When this happens, you get the feeling that more than just chaos will emerge from the wreckage of the evening - that each of the characters will have grown in their own way by the end of it.
I was surprised when the film ended. Not because it ended suddenly or with unanswered questions, but that they had managed to weave together so much action comedy and the obligatory heart-felt moments in such a short space of time. If only a lot of films could do this rather than give us some unneccessary filler.
A recommendation to see this film is present in this review but, with so many Oscar frontrunners taking all the box office takings, it would be a shame if this was overlooked for more serious offerings. Check it out at the cinema while you can.
7.5 / 10
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