“A comedy about a college student on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door, though he is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him.” That’s what IMDB says about this film because I couldn’t be bothered synopsise myself. It’s really quite bad. That’s all you need to know if you don’t want to read on. If you do…I’ll make it as painless as possible.
My own generous discerning of a slight Home Alone vibe from the movie’s opening fifteen minutes (babysitter set upon by unruly kids) were soon dispelled by the messy structure, half-cocked jokes, character stereotypes and trite life lessons Jonah Hill soon starts doling out to his newly-adopted gang.
Lessons he gives out, by the way, as they navigate a night of mayhem initiated by the man himself when he should have been stuffing his face with the contents of someone else’s fridge while the little darlings vegged haplessly in front of a TV / Laptop / Xbox. Yes Jonah Hill’s horny frustration at not being able to see his is-she / isn’t-she girlfriend becomes the reason they all leave the safety of the house for the dangerous, hedonistic, gang-ravaged streets of…downtown Manhattan. And that same innate common-sense that encouraged Jonah to leave the house in the first place, turns into streetwise smarts gained from, what all I can see, is a deluded idea of “post college age” maturity. By the end Hill is surrogate father, pseudo-therapist and proud guardian to the young ‘uns
Along the way we get drug dealer Sam Rockwell, neurotic child characters – creepy in their very adultness (do they even need babysitters?) Hill’s absent adulterous father, a fancy car or two, cleavage, cocaine in Fabergé eggs… The script eventually writes itself into a corner with a premise stretched so thin that the movie simply collapses by the (merciful) end. I laughed out loud about four times and desperately wanted it to finish after about an hour.