LOS ANGELES -- Someone is needed to make sense of this well-intentioned mess of a comedy so desperate for laughs it crams a half-dozen story arcs into the plot without telling one of them well.
And given the talent at "The Sitter's" disposal, this marks one of Hollywood's bigger disappointments. Jonah Hill and Sam Rockwell, two of the funniest men around, are wasted by a script eclipsed only by Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill in lazy storytelling.
Hill plays Noah Griffith, a college-aged slacker with a lousy girlfriend, lonely mother and louse of a father who left him as a toddler. To "The Sitter's" credit, it takes all of four minutes to dive into the meat of the tale: Noah is coaxed into babysitting three reprobates so his mother can go on a date.
There's nothing wrong in the setup, but director David Gordon Green populates the movie with so many soap opera asides it's hard to keep count. You've got the sexually confused Slater (Max Records), the emotionally fractured Blithe (Landry Bender) and the misunderstood adopted vandal Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez). And throw in a cocaine dealer (Rockwell) bent on killing Noah at midnight.
"The Sitter" doesn't offend as much as it could, perhaps because its message of self-acceptance - as delivered by Noah in 10-minute sermons to a phalanx of characters at the movie's finale - is sweet enough. And the soundtrack, which includes The Sugarhill Gang and Slick Rick, helps the 81 minutes pass.