Home Video Hovel- The Sitter
At a “pivotal” dramatic point of David Gordon Green’s The Sitter, Noah (Jonah Hill) tells a young girl an anecdote in order to explain why her dad is cheating on her mom. His story is that while walking down the street he punched his friend in the junk. When asked why he did that, Noah responds with “no reason.” This is basically the explanation for everything in The Sitter. There is no reason why many of gags and problems occur, and that’s a tough way to build a comedy. There’s no reason why the group has their mini-van stolen; there’s no reason why Noah starts a fight with his fake-girlfriend’s ex; there’s no reason why Noah suddenly has a black posse and the affection of a cute, young black girl. Throughout the film, problems are established without any set-up and their solutions come without any thought.
The “Totally Irresponsible” 2-Disc Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack promises more mayhem, more “hardcore sit” as the film’s marketing has put it. For the purposes of this review, I dove directly into the deep end to watch the unrated version — due to my level of enjoyment of this film, I am not planning to see the theatrical cut. The unrated version runs approximately six minutes longer than the theatrical version (still a scant 87 minutes), and I can’t really tell where that extra time was hiding. Given the scatterbrained focus of the film, I would have guessed the unrated version actually took out about 15 minutes of the runtime. If you saw The Sitter in the theaters and loved it, you may greatly appreciate the extra gags that made this cut, but I’m guessing it’s not going to convert anyone who wasn’t already a fan.
In terms of special features, The Sitter’s release is a pretty standard one for a raunchy comedy. You get 25 minutes deleted and extended scenes that don’t fill the gaps that seem to be missing. Included in the deleted scenes package is an alternate ending where Noah and Karl (Sam Rockwell) have a showdown at a carousel — a scene which is actually pretty fun, including a shot where an obvious dummy gets thrown into a pile of junk (a visual gag I always respond to). There is also a gag reel, which is like any other gag reel you’ve ever seen — if you think it’s super funny that Jonah Hill can’t properly say “Don’t change the channel” then it is for you. Similarly, there is a feature called “Sits-and-Giggles” which is a three minute alternate takes from the improvised lines that didn’t make the cut.
In case you wanted to know how The Sitter was made, there is a 15-minute feature called “The Making of The Sitter.” There is actually a pretty good insight as to why David Gordon Green wanted to make this film: “working with kids + Jonah Hill + profanity.” There is also a lot of screen-time devoted to farting on the set, though that has some amusing moments. It is nice to see the cast and crew having a lot of fun making the movie, it does make me a little bad for being so cynical.
The final feature, called “Jonah The Producer,” is definitely the best on the disc. It shows a lot of behind-the-scenes footage and talking-head material of Jonah on set, showing us how he works. Feeling a bit like a SNL Digital Short, we see Jonah talking up Max Record’s dad and Landry Bender’s mom and giving tutoring lessons to the kids. It is easily the most informative and enjoyable because it doesn’t stretch as hard to be obviously funny and doesn’t openly laugh at itself.
Though there is over an hour of special features on the disc, most of them are too similar and repetitive. I was actually surprised by the lack of quality special features due to the marketing of the Blu-Ray being a 2-Disc release. Each disc has the same content, with both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film, with the second disc simply being the digital copy and DVD. For me, an infinite amount of extra bonus features probably wouldn’t have swayed this release to recommend anyone to buy it. The aggressive marketing of the Blu-Ray containing a bunch of unrated or unreleased content will probably disappoint, as well.