“The Sitter,” reviewed by Marshall Fine


From time to time, I offer an installment in my “Annals of the Overrated.” But I don’t believe director David Gordon Green is worth an entire installment – so let this review of his latest film, “The Sitter,” serve as his induction. Consider him officially overrated.

Green, you may recall, was a film school grad whose overrated debut film, “George Washington,” bamboozled critics into acclaiming him as the next big thing a few years ago, a prediction that has fallen predictably short. With twee, plotless films like “All the Real Girls,” “Snow Angels” and the semi-bearable “Undertow,” Green pretty much milked the genre of inarticulate people caught in unfortunate situations with no way out. He did it in ways that convinced some critics that his films actually were about something – though he barely attracted audiences.

Then he teamed up with film-school colleague Danny McBride and McBride’s new pal, Seth Rogen, for “Pineapple Express,” a film that was hailed as a raunchy comedy landmark. In fact, it only offered about 10 minutes of workably witty material (most of that involving Rogen and James Franco) and another hour or so of undisciplined action and violence. With “Your Highness,” the emperor was fully exposed: a film that claims a high spot on many “Worst of 2011” lists.

“The Sitter” is further proof that, while Green may recognize a comic situation, he doesn’t know how to exploit it for more than the most obvious laughs. Even with reliable comic performers like Jonah Hill, the crafty and unpredictable Sam Rockwell and JB Smoove, Green can’t generate any big chuckles in a movie loaded with such sure-fire laughs as groin-kicks and tots shouting obscenities.

This review continues on my website.

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