The Sleepover
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Typical family entertainment in The Sleepover

Director Trish Sie takes a break from directing music-based films to helm the Netflix family comedy, The Sleepover. High school student Clancy (Sadie Stanley) leads a bleak and mundane life, only finding joy playing the cello in her school. At home, Clancy has to deal with her overly imaginative and annoying brother Kevin (Maxwell Simpkins), Clancy is also under the watchful eye of an overbearing mother stay-at-home mom Margot (Malin Åkerman) won’t let her even have a cell phone.

Thankfully Clancy has a best friend in Mim (Cree Cicchinco) and understanding dad Glen (Ken Marino) to help her out. However, Clancy doesn’t know that her mom is actually a former jewel thief in the witness protection program. Margot’s former accomplices have tracked her down and kidnaped both Margot and Glen forcing the couple to work with Margot’s ex-flame Leo (Joe Manganiello). With the help of Mim, Kevin, and Kevin’s friend Lewis (Lucas Jaye), Clancy sets out on an adventurous night to rescue her parents and live a little.

In the age of the COVID, I think the one thing we can all agree on is that when it comes to streaming, many of us have watched films that generally we may not due to theaters being shut down. For me, The Sleepover falls into that category. Granted, I enjoyed the director’s last film, Pitch Perfect 3, and I’ve always liked Ken Marino, Malin Åkerman, and Joe Manganiello. Hence, I went into the movie with an open mind.

The Sleepover is primarily for the family, outside of a few violent scenes, there isn’t anything overly questionable. However, the safeness of the film ends up hurting the overall final product. For starters, there’s a plot twist during the third act of the film, that even young viewers will figure out. First-time writer Sarah Rothschild had an excellent adult cast at her disposal, yet doesn’t utilize them fully.

While Åkerman does well in her role, Ken Marino sleepwalks through his role. I’ve been a fan of Marino since his work on The State, yet his comedic shtick here is nothing we haven’t seen.

Joe Manganiello is great as Leo, and watching his action scenes, the actor really needs his own franchise. Perhaps if Marino and Manganiello’s roles were switched, the film’s final effect would’ve been better. I feel that there could’ve been some great lies with Manganiello portraying a meek baker while Marino portrays the alpha male.

The young actors do what they can with the material as it doesn’t really require the young actors to show that much range. I’m sure we all knew a Clancy, Mim, Lucas, or a Kevin growing up, so the characters were relatable. One of the things I liked about the script though, was it never paints the kids as know it all types. I was also fond of the fact they are forced to use their wits to get out sticky situations instead of modern technology. I will say that the strongest acting in the film for me from the kids was Mim’s character. Cree Cicchinco has a likable presence, and I hope to see more of her in the future.

Similar to most family films, The Sleepover will become a distant memory within the next month. In terms of family entertainment, I’m going to madly recommend the movie for family audiences.

Final Grade C-

The Sleepover is available for streaming at https://netflix.com/thesleepover on Friday, August 21, 2020.

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