The Sleepover Parent Guide
A fun premise and fine acting can't compensate for serious plot holes.
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 August 21, 2020
Watch the trailer for 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.
Page last updated August 21, 2020
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?
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