The Sleepover parents guide

The Sleepover Parent Guide

A fun premise and fine acting can't compensate for serious plot holes.

Overall C

Netflix: Kevin and Ady are shocked to learn that their mother is in the witness protection program for testifying against a notorious criminal. Now she's being forced to carry out one more job...and the kids are determined to save her.

Release date August 21, 2020

Violence B-
Sexual Content B+
Profanity B
Substance Use A

Why is The Sleepover rated TV-PG? The MPAA rated The Sleepover TV-PG

Run Time: 103 minutes

Parent Movie Review

The Finches are an average suburban family, or at least that’s what they appear to be. After their parents are kidnapped by criminals, Clancy (Sadie Stanley) and Kevin (Maxwell Simkins) learn that their mom, Margot (Malin Akerman), is a former thief who has been living in the witness protection program after testifying against a criminal mastermind. While being forced to carry out one last job with her former partner, Leo (Joe Manganiello), Margot leaves clues behind for her children to follow so they can, hopefully, save the day.

The Sleepover is one of those movies that demands a great deal of suspension of disbelief. The story makes a lot of illogical choices, both in the plot and in the action. The writers seem to have bent over backwards to make sure the kids don’t get any adult help on their adventure, which includes them willfully choosing to not accept the help of a US Marshal, even though he is working toward the same goal. There is also a car chase scene where a minivan is able to easily keep up with a sports car. Minivans may be practical, but fast they are not. I’m ok with some suspension of disbelief, especially in a family film, but the illogical nature of parts of the story made it frustrating to watch. Along with that, The Sleepover can’t seem to decide what genre it wants to be. It tries to be both a treasure hunt and a heist at the same time, without fully committing to either. It feels disjointed and muddled. Perhaps a director with a stronger vision could have given this promising premise more life on screen.

There are positives to be found in this production, however. The cast has a few bright spots, including Maxwell Simkins, who brings a surprising amount charm and natural comedic talent for an actor so young. Ken Marino is obviously having a blast playing the children’s awkward father, Ron. Considering what he was given to work with, he does a fine job of juggling his role as both the grounding presence and the comic relief in the family. Clancy’s best friend, Mim (Cree Cicchino), is also a standout from both a character and acting perspective.

Where the film really fails, at least in my opinion, is in its themes. I think the intention is to send the message that crime doesn’t pay, and that normal life isn’t boring. The message I got, however, is that crime leads to exciting adventures, wealth, and excitement and normal suburban life is monotonous. Along with not knowing what genre it is, this movie can’t seem to decide what it wants to teach its audience.

The Sleepover is not necessarily a bad movie. It’s a passable attempt at family entertainment and it’s sufficiently funny to be watchable, but it has enough glaring flaws and content concerns that I wouldn’t recommend adding it to the top of your Netflix queue.

Directed by Trish Sie. Starring Sadie Stanley, Maxwell Simkins, Malin Akerman, Ken Marino. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release August 21, 2020. Updated

Watch the trailer for The Sleepover

The Sleepover
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Sleepover rated TV-PG? The Sleepover is rated TV-PG by the MPAA

Violence: Numerous fight scenes including hand to hand combat, fighting with a metal pole, and throwing various objects. Characters are seen holding guns and threatening to shoot them, though no people are actually shot. A chandelier falls on someone, knocking them out. A man is knocked out by a kick to the head. A man has a knife held to his throat. Some unoccupied cars accidently explode. There is a car chase scene that ends in a minor crash. No blood or major injuries are ever shown.
Sexual Content: A boy looks at a teen girl’s behind and his sister tells him to “stop being a perv”. A boy carries a teen girl on his back and later tells his friend he “felt boob”. A reference to a cavity search. A married couple kiss. A man kisses a married woman in front of her husband.
Profanity: Some mild insults including loser, freak, nerd, and weird. Over 20 uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teens at a party are seen holding plastic cups in the background, but there is no indication of whether the drinks are alcoholic or not.

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The Sleepover Parents' Guide

Why did Margot give up her life of crime? What did she gain by doing that? What consequences do the criminals in this movie face?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

A princess sets off to rescue her mother from a dragon in Rise of the Dragon Moon by Gabrielle K Byrne. Princess Celie is also called on to rescue her parents when they are ambushed in Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George.

Jake Burt’s Greetings from Witness Protection! follows a family of three who need to be protected from a criminal mastermind. The FBI asks young Nicki to temporarily join the family so it will be a family of four, and hopefully confuse the thugs searching for them.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Kids coming to the rescue of their parents is a frequent theme in film. When their parents are kidnapped, two kids learn about their past as espionage agents and have to find them in Spy Kids.

In Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, a teen doesn’t know that his uncle and guardian is a spy until he’s killed. Alex is pulled into the world of espionage to trap his killer.

Will Stronghold’s parents are superheroes, and with an evil villain is out for revenge, Will just might need to save them in Sky High.

Most parents don’t need to be rescued from the world of secret agents. In Christopher Robin, a man is struggling with work/life balance until his daughter and some old friends come to the rescue.