The Sitter: Journey to the Near-Bottom of the Post-Apatow Raunch Comedy Swamp
One day soon, some bored film blogger is going to create a clever infographic that rates all the post-Apatow raunch comedies from best to worst. The graphic is going to get passed from blog to blog, launch a few thousand irate comments, and then disappear from everyone’s memory immediately. I do not want to be that bored blogger—if I’m going to spend hours in Photoshop lovingly composing a document that prominently features Paul Rudd’s face, that document is going to be a suicide note. But if I were to create a post-Apatovian scale, I would place The Sitter firmly on the bad end of the spectrum, though I’d make sure it was slightly higher ranked than, say, 30 Minutes or Less, or director David Gordon Green’s previous attempt at comedy, Your Highness.
Even if you’ve never seen the trailer, you can guess The Sitter’s plot: It’s Adventures in Babysitting, starring (a pre-diet) Jonah Hill. Through a wacky series of events, he’s entrusted with the safety of three wacky kids for a night. Due to his rampant horniness—ka-BOING! goeth the boner—he has to take the kids out on the town to procure some cocaine for the emotionally distant hot girl he dreams of banging. The movie has exactly enough chase scenes, raunchy comedy scenes, and scenes featuring the realization of Important Life Lessons to meet the legally mandated minimum time for a raunch comedy (81 minutes), and then it ends.
So what makes The Sitter ever-so-slightly better than this summer’s excrementitious 30 Minutes or Less? Sam Rockwell, who plays a villainous, rock-dumb coke dealer named Karl. The scene where he’s introduced is so apeshit, so delightfully gonzo, that for a second you forget you’re staring at a turgid piece of shit dance across the screen. You stop waiting for the blessed release of the closing credits and you sink into the movie for a minute or two. But the rest of Rockwell’s scenes are flat, and every other performance fails to arouse even a second’s worth of interest (especially young Max Records, who was so perfect as the star of Where the Wild Things Are; here, he seems to be a younger, and even more robotic, Keanu Reeves). Hollywood product doesn’t get much more formulaic than The Sitter, but, thanks to that one glowing minute of weird, it’s not The Worst Sex Comedy Ever. Just, you know, one of them.