The Sitter

  • Review Date: December 9, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 81 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Hard-R misadventures are crazy and crass but still funny.
  • Review Date: December 9, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 81 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Despite the raunchy stuff and general craziness, there are a few positive messages in the movie: the oldest son learns to accept who he is, the adopted son realizes he doesn't have to be confrontational just to get a rise out of his new family, and the daughter sees that she doesn't need to act like a reality star (make-up, singing, provocative dancing) to be likable. Even Noah realizes that he deserves to be with someone who likes him back and doesn't take him for granted.

Positive role models

There are basically no positive role models except for Roxanne, who offers to help Noah even though he's done nothing to deserve her compassion and consideration. Noah's mom is also kind and thinks the best of her slacker son, but she's barely in the movie.

Violence

Rodrigo likes to put cherry bombs in toilets, which blow up in a restaurant, a jewelry store, and then in a car, causing the driver's crotch to catch on fire. The drug dealer's goons chase after Noah and the kids, causing a car accident. Noah accepts a sucker punch to the face to give him street cred and later gets into a fight with a kickboxer who beats him up until the kids come to the rescue. The drug dealer wields a gun. There's a scene in which a character is beaten by a gang of angry onlookers.

Sex

Although there's no nudity, the movie begins with a scene of a clothed guy performing simulated oral sex on a mostly dressed girl. He then tries to get her to reciprocate, but she refuses. Later she offers to have sex if he does her a favor. Also lots of conversations about sex, pornography, adulterous sexual relationships between babysitters and their employers, and genitalia. A young girl sings the lyrics to bawdy rap songs and calls things and people "hot."

Language

Virtually constant swearing, even in front of (or by!) the three kids, includes expletives such as "f--k," "motherf--ker," "d--k," "p---y," "t-ts," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," and more. Spanish curse words are also included via young Rodrigo: "puta," "pendejo," "carajo," "púdrete," etc.

Consumerism

Featured brands and products include Mercedes, Honda Odyssey, Apple computer, iPod.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A major subplot involves Noah buying some cocaine from an eccentric drug dealer who snorts it and offers some to him. Noah's pseudo-girlfriend is drunk at a party and asks him to buy her the cocaine. Adults at a few different venues -- a bat mitzvah, a pool hall, the drug dealer's place, a house party -- drink alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this "babysitter gone wild" comedy may target teens -- especially those who are already Jonah Hill fans -- it has so many hard-R references to sex, drugs, and violence that it's not age appropriate for young teens. There's near-constant use of expletives (from the ubiquitous "motherf--ker" to "bitch" and everything in between), jokes about sex, a guy-on-girl oral sex scene, overt cocaine buying and use, references to a young teen's homosexuality, and plenty of sketchy and/or criminal behavior. Adoptive families may not appreciate the way the subject of adoption is depicted. It's all intended for laughs (what kind of college-aged student would really take three kids to a drug dealer's lair?), but that doesn't mean it's OK for younger viewers, so be prepared to stick to your guns if you have tweens and young teens who want to see it. Note: The unrated version (available on DVD) includes additional content not included in the theatrical release, including a topless woman.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Noah Griffith (Jonah Hill) is a slacker college dropout living with his divorced mom (Jessica Hecht) in the New York suburbs. When not engaged in his one-sided pseudo relationship with the manipulative Marisa (Ari Graynor), he usually lazes about and watches TV. But when his mom's blind date falls through because her friend's sitter cancels, Noah begrudgingly accepts the job. His charges include Slater (Max Records), a 13-year-old with severe anxiety issues; Blithe (Landry Bender), a first grader who fancies herself a "celebutante" reality star in the making; and Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez), a tween Central American adoptee who lashes out without warning. When Marisa calls promising Noah sex if he buys cocaine and brings it to a house party, he agrees -- and takes the kids on a crazy, dangerous trip through Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

If you crossed the '80s classics Adventures in Babysitting and Uncle Buck and added a healthy wallop of Superbad humor, the end result would be this simultaneously cringe-worthy and entertaining comedy. THE SITTER's plot is definitely, as the kids say, "off the hook." Between a dangerous misunderstanding with the eccentric coke dealer Karl (played by Sam Rockwell, who seems to be having the time of his life), an ill-fated attempt to secure $10,000 cash from a pile of bat mitzvah gifts, and a heartbreaking confrontation with Noah's rich but uncaring father, the movie's adventures are illegal and immoral ... but also life-altering for both the sitter and the kids.
 

Through all the antics, Hill reminds viewers how even the least improbable protagonists can win over audiences. It's not an easy movie to watch, particularly when you've left your own children in the care of babysitters time and time again, but with its old-school hip-hop soundtrack, some brilliant one-liners, and -- as strange as it may seem -- a positive message about the staying true to yourself and finding your place in a family, The Sitter is a surprisingly amusing, albeit quite naughty, cautionary tale about what happens when parents are away for the night.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether The Sitter is intended to have positive take-aways, or if it's just meant to be funny. Does learning life lessons justify the craziness?

  • Bullying is mentioned as a part of both Noah's background and Slater's future. Teens: What's the best way to handle bullying?

  • What's the appeal of "raunchy" comedies? Do they cross the line? Who determines where that line falls?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 9, 2011
DVD release date:March 20, 2012
Cast:Jonah Hill, Max Records, Sam Rockwell
Director:David Gordon Green
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Comedy
Run time:81 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and some violence

This review of The Sitter was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byGoldpop December 21, 2011
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Not for kids (or anyone for that matter)

This movie spends a lot of time promoting teen sex, drugs, homosexuality, violence, disrespect for others property, etc, etc.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 9, 11, 14, and 14 year old Written bynew guy02 December 9, 2011
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

please read my warning

I for one want to see this movie so badly and think it looks hilariously funny but parents with children of any age need to keep in mind that this movie is rated R and though it may have a cute story and cute kids 'a little girl is just too adorable for words' that it will certanly not be a wise choice for a family outing to the movies unless you have an older family
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bydkasal000 February 23, 2015
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

fine

it was ok but lots of language and poor role models
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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