Sleepover (2004)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Jul 9, 2004 (USA)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

The characters in Joe Nussbaum's Sleepover walk the same fine line that tween entertainment in general must walk: They're young enough to still see a sleepover as an exciting social event, yet old enough that they're enticed out into the world rather than engaging in normal slumber-party activities. Put another way, it's debatable whether girls who haven't started high school should be logical romantic partners for boys who drive cars, but the reality is, they're interested in such boys anyway. Sleepover combines wholesomeness (the girls drink soda) with dangerousness (the girls sneak into a night club) in ways that should be interesting enough for the target audience, without worrying the parents of that audience too much. But is it any good? Not really, if you're outside the intended demographic -- though older audiences may take interest in some of the featured players, particularly Steve Carell, Jane Lynch and Jeff Garlin. "Take interest" is different from "like." When Sleepover was made, Carell had not yet filmed his first episode of The Office, and playing a bumbling, mustachioed rent-a-cop -- the girls' primary nemesis -- probably seemed like a good enough role at the time. Instead, his every appearance reduces the movie to utter slapstick silliness -- though to be fair, it's a short trip. Among the younger actors, Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem and Kallie Flynn Childress show enough charisma to keep us interested in the appropriately frivolous pursuits of the teenagers, which include skateboarding, a school dance, and the desire to get the lunch spot by the fountain (rather than the one by the dumpsters). There's something undoubtedly square about Sleepover; for example, the girls listen to The Spice Girls a good five years after they were popular. For the parents of these rapidly maturing viewers, though, a little squareness is probably a good thing.