David Gordon Green is sitting somewhere this morning, watching the reactions to the new trailer for "The Sitter," and he's laughing himself silly at the frustration that "serious" film critics have with the direction his career has gone.
When I first met David, it was at the Ebert Overlooked Film Festival, where his film "George Washington" was being shown and celebrated. For a short time, the easy way to describe Green's work was using Terrence Malick as a sort of touchstone. Since "Pineapple Express," though, he's been doing something very different, indulging a side of himself that his film school friends all knew was there but that his earliest features didn't even remotely suggest.
I really like R-rated mainstream comedy David Gordon Green. I think he's a very different filmmaker than earnest dreamy little indie drama David Gordon Green, and that's fine with me. I'll take a film from either one of them, but what I like about R-rated mainstream comedy David Gordon Green is that he's flat-out crazy. He does not care about the rules of what you "can" or "can't" do in a comedy. He doesn't even seem to understand that there are rules, or that you aren't supposed to do certain things, or the the meaning of the word "taboo." He is a gleeful anarchist, and I like that element of danger in his work.
Just from the introduction that Jonah Hill shot for this trailer, you can see what most of the friction is going to come from, the idea of this profane lunatic being left in charge of impressionable children. That's one of those things that almost always works, and the more you push it, the funnier the returns.
I like the trailer, but I have a feeling this is going to be one of those comedies where the big laughs are situational and work best in context. I particularly love that they're scheduling this for December, so right as the studios are releasing their serious Oscar contenders and their giant-budget Christmas blockbuster wannabes, "The Sitter" sneaks in to f some s up. Can't wait.
"The Sitter" opens everywhere December 9, 2011.