Released approximately at the same time as Mean Girls, Sleepover is an attempt to make an impact on the teen demographic. But after watching this movie, there’s really no impact. In fact, it barely makes a dent. Four best friends go on a crazy all night scavenger hunt against the “popular” girls. The winner of the hunt gets to sit at the “popular” lunch hang out. The loser…well…gets to hang out with the losers. Pretty trite stuff, eh?
Sleepover is supposedly a throwback to those…zany teen, staying up all night adventure comedies. The characters get themselves into some pretty weird situations. One of these “situations” includes Julie, the main character (she’s 14), sneaking into a bar because the scavenger hunt requires her to get a photo of herself being treated to a drink by a grown-up (???). Weird. The grown-up happens to be her teacher (???). Double weird. But if you’re looking for incisive commentary about teen life, this is not the movie. It plays more like an extended Lizzie McGuire episode. At least the Lizzie show was only half an hour.
The four friends I would barely call characters. They are recycled ciphers from other movies of its ilk. And of course there’s the chubby girl who never gets any attention from the opposite sex. Cliché #26. Some of the young actors show promise, Alexa Vega (of Spy Kids fame), for instance. But the talented Jane Lynch (A Mighty Wind) and Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) are essentially wasted as the dumb movie parents.
Joe Nussbaum is a director that has talent. His short film, George Lucas in Love, put him on the map. But I’m thinking, this isn’t the right material for him. The script, by Elisa Bell, lacks wit or insight. One longs for the days of John Hughes.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is a strong track. There are some occasional surround effects, but the overall mix is well balanced. The “hip” soundtrack comes across loud and clear; a little too much base in the “techno” scenes. But I think my sub woofer was sick that day.
Even if the movie isn’t “all that”, MGM presents a transfer that is. In keeping with the fun tone of the movie, there’s a lot of bright and distinct color. Flesh tones are natural. Blacks are solid. There is a little bit of edge enhancement and pixilation. But those moments are rare. By the quality of the transfer, one would think this is a good movie. It’s in 1:85:1 widescreen to boot.
MGM goes all out in the special features area. First up is an audio commentary by the director and the cast. The commentary is like well…a sleepover. Lots of giggling and inside “gossip”. But ultimately…kind of pointless.
“A Guide to the Perfect Sleepover” is a making-of-featurette. It’s one of those standard interview based “why I loved this script…working with these people” kind of documentaries. Looks good though and in surround.
“Meet the Girls”. There are brief profiles of the four main teen actors. They talk about t heir characters and what place they have in the story. Curious only to girls looking for more “insider” information.
“Ready, Set, Action!” Featurette. Another behind-the-scenes documentary. More “between takes” stuff. Kind of redundant. But if you can’t get enough of this movie, then here’s more.
“Sleepover Confessions” is where the actors talk about “real” life sleepover experiences they’ve had. Nothing too shocking or weird.
There’s also a gag reel (where we can laugh at those funny mistakes the actors make), some behind the scenes photos, and the trailer.
Sleepover might make an amusing “sleepover” movie for its intended teenage girl demographic. It’s got some comedy, some romance, some vague social commentary, and an electric car. For us poor other folk, we’re left holding the bag. With a plethora of extras, good sound, and video, Sleepover makes a tempting choice at the video store. But give me Ferris Bueller any day.
Special Features List
- Audio commentary by the director and the cast
- “A Guide to the Perfect Sleepover” featurette
- “Meet the Girls”
- “Ready, Set, Action!” Featurette
- “Sleepover Confessions”
- Gag reel
- Photo Gallery