THE SITTER: Where do I begin describing all of the things that are so wrong with this car wreck of a movie? I'll start by saying that the plot is nothing more than a knock-off of ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING (1987) with a sometimes semi-likeable loser dude (Jonah Hill) in the Elisabeth Shue (LEAVING LAS VEGAS) role.
The raunchier, reworked storyline puts Hill (MONEYBALL) in charge of a trio of kids (Landry Bender, Kevin Hernandez, Max Records) who have their various issues and neuroses. Naturally, the conventions and predictability in movies like this dictate that by the conclusion, Hill and his charges will have bonded with both sets of people becoming better for the experience yada yada yada. All of this happens without any type of meaningful segue from one spectrum to another which kills any believability in the narrative.
This kind of work denigrates, patronizes and stereotypes blacks, gays and Latinos in one scene only to pander to them in a later one. Characters freely engage in the kind of actions and behavior that would likely have a tragic outcome in real life.
Evidence of lazy filmmaking is seen in the oft-used speeded-up photography which usually functions as a transition when a screenwriter has run out of ideas of how to get from one scene to another.
I enjoy R-rated humor as much as the next guy but what passes for wit in the movie can be compared to the foul-mouthed kid who says a lot of dirty words just for the sake of hearing himself say a lot of dirty words. It's seldom, if ever, amusing and gets tiresome really quick.
CRITIC'S GRADE: D
EXCELLENT MOVIES THAT WILL PUT YOU IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947), A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951), A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983), DIE HARD (1988), DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2009), HOLIDAY INN (1942), IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), JOYEUX NOEL (2005), MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947), NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION (1989), THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)