Friday, 21 August 2020

The Sleepover (Movie Review)

Is it just me, or does it feel like there's no shortage of kids' movies making the rounds on streaming platforms and VOD these days? This is a good thing of course, considering most kids are still stuck at home and in desperate need of entertainment and a distraction. Plus some of those movies have been quite good, like Onward or Trolls World Tour, while others are pretty much dead on arrival, like Artemis Fowl. Then we have movies like The Sleepover, which happen to fall somewhere in-between.

The film finds a group of kids caught in the middle of a mystery, after two of them, Clancy (Sadie Stanley) and Kevin (Maxwell Simkins), find out that their parents have been kidnapped one night during a sleepover. It turns out their mum, Margot (Malin Akerman), is not who she claims to be, but a deadly thief with special ops training. Or at least she used to be, before she'd cut a deal with the authorities and went into witness protection.

But after one of her old acquaintances manages to track her down, she is forced back into the world of fast cars and expensive jewels, for one final heist. She is to team up with her former partner in crime, Leo (Joe Manganiello), and together they must steal a prized jewel in order for her to protect her family and get out of the spy game for good. Except she'd also left her kids some clues, and now they are hot on her trail even as they struggle to come to terms with who she truly is.

The Sleepover is a middle-of-the-road action comedy geared towards families and kids. Similar to movies like Game Night, the film tracks the misadventures of a group of friends over the course of one night, except that other film's raunchy gags are replaced with some family-friendly fun and humor. The film has quite a few laughs in-between its action scenes, even though not all of its jokes land as strongly as you'd expect or hope for, but what do you expect from a G-rated comedy?

Parallels can also be drawn with other kids movies like Spy Kids, even though this is one angle the movie never fully explores, outside of one scene with an underground bunker full of gadgets and a cool self-driving car. The cast members were more than adequate in their roles, with no clear standouts to speak of. The film also doesn't overstay its welcome, though I would've preferred if it was just a smidgen shorter than its 1 hour 40 minutes runtime.

Ultimately, your enjoyment of The Sleepover hinges on how much of your inner child you're still in touch with. I can see kids eating this stuff up, and parents laughing along or at the family hi-jinx on display. But for everyone else, you'd just have to go in with the knowledge that the movie offers nothing special or something we haven't seen before and enjoy it for what it is.

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