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Movie Review: “The Sleepover”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

The Sleepover

Netflix Release: 8/21/2020

Netflix Release: 8/21/2020

Synopsis

Margot (Malin Akerman) has a secret past that her family does not know about. On the surface, she is an ordinary mom. She is in a loving marriage with her husband Ron (Ken Marino), and the couple have two kids together. They have an ordinary, comfortable life, but Margot's past is about to catch up with her. On a night when her son Kevin (Maxwell Simkins) is having a sleepover with one of his friends (Lucas Jaye), and her daughter Clancy (Sadie Stanley) is trying to sneak out to a party with one of her friends (Cree Cicchino), Margot's past finds its way to her home.

Her family does not know about her past as a thief, as she has been in witness protection. However, there is someone who wants her to steal a valuable crown, and they have found out where she lives. With some powerful people threatening her family if she does not comply, Margot agrees to steal the crown and she tracks down her ex-fiance and former partner in crime (Joe Manganiello) to help her. Kevin and Clancy decide they need to find their parents, but they quickly learn that their mom is no ordinary mom.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The ProsThe Cons

The Premise (+5pts)

Ridiculousness (-5pts)

The Cast (+3pts)

The Plot & The Comedy (-6pts)

Ron (+3pts)

Kevin (-3pts)

movie-review-the-sleepover

Pro: The Premise (+5pts)

The premise sort of carried this movie. It was not without its moments otherwise, but the premise was really the driving force behind this movie and my interest in it. Was it a believable premise? Of course not, and the filmmakers executed it in a silly way, which made it even less believable. Nonetheless, I thought the premise worked really well.

I liked that the filmmakers split the kids and the parents into their own groups. The kid's group had plenty of comedic moments, and the parents‘ storyline was more focused on plot. It had some mild suspense, a sprinkling of action, and Ron keeping the comedy rolling during the parent scenes. I also liked that each groups' goals were simple. I liked the comedic-mystery—National Treasure styled—storyline that the kids were in, because even though it was ridiculous, it was amusing to watch the kids going through it. I also liked the parent storyline, as it had the tone of a heist, but with a bit of action and comedy sprinkled into it. None of this was executed masterfully—not by any stretch of the imagination—but this was a decent premise that served its purpose well.

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Con: Ridiculousness (-5pts)

There were a lot of ridiculous moments in this movie. Let me repeat that so that it really sinks in: there were a lot of ridiculous moments in this movie. There was the booger scanning moment, there was the kids not being caught by the coast guard. There was also the Marshal being subdued by the kids, and there was the van catching up to the sports car. These were the types of moments that made my eyes roll into the back of my head, and these types of moments happened so frequently that I thought my eyes would end up getting stuck there. These moments will require you to suspend your disbelief, but it will happen so frequently that it will be hard to look past. This was a ridiculous premise, and the filmmakers leaned into it, but I thought they leaned into it a little too much.

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Pro: The Cast (+3pts)

The cast was nothing truly special, but I thought they all played their parts well. Malin Akerman, Sadie Stanley, and Joe Manganiello were more plot characters than anything else, as they were the ones driving the plot forward most of the time. Then there were Maxwell Simkins and Ken Marino who were the primary comedic reliefs in their respective groups, and while the comedy was never truly great, it seemed like both actors played their parts well. The movie they were in was not very good, but I thought the cast themselves did a decent enough job with what they were given.

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Con: The Plot & The Comedy (-6pts)

The plot of this movie was a bit too bland, and the comedy never really landed with me either. With the plot, the premise of having an ordinary mom who was once a reputable thief was one that worked, as it got the whole ball rolling with this movie. However, the plot that the filmmakers came up with did not really capitalize on the effective premise. The filmmakers basically just slapped together a generic heist movie, and threw in a bunch of spy gadgets, and they thought that was enough.

Unfortunately, I did not care about the crown that the adults were after, and I never felt like any character was in any real danger, so the bland plot did not even have any stakes to go along with it. It gave me the impression that the filmmakers had their premise, and were hoping to rely on comedy to keep audiences entertained—and to hide the weak plot—but the comedy did not really work either. There were a lot of moments that were clearly trying to be funny, but no one I was watching the movie with found them to be very funny—and this movie should have been right up a couple of their alleys. In short, the movie had a decent premise, but the filmmakers failed to deliver an interesting plot or effective comedy, and it made the whole movie somewhat of a struggle to get through.

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Pro: Ron (+3pts)

While I never thought this movie was very funny, Ron—played effectively by Ken Marino—was the character that was consistently able to make me at least chuckle. Unlike Margot, Ron was actually an ordinary parent, and it was fun to watch him being thrust into Margot's past. It was entertaining to see him trying to aid in the heist, and it was funny to see him interacting with Margot's ex. Letting him help with the heist was a horrible decision on the antagonist's part, but it made way for some of the most effective comedy in this movie—although the rest of the comedy did not exactly set that bar very high.

Then there was all the stuff with the mini-van, his agility when chasing the antagonist, and his jealousy regarding Margot and her ex. Was this character ridiculous? Absolutely, and to an eye-rolling degree, but it was the good kind of eye-rolling ridiculousness—like a silly pun or a dad joke. I thought the character worked for this movie, and while I think Ron would have been a weakness in an otherwise funnier movie, he ended up being a strength in this one.

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Pro: Kevin (-3pts)

To be brief here, I just did not think this character was funny at all. Maybe I was not in the right demographic to appreciate him, but literally all of the character's attempted comedy felt desperate, unnatural, and it caused it all to fall flat. Do not get me wrong, I do not think the fault here lies with the actor. I think Maxwell Simkins probably did exactly what the filmmakers wanted him to do, but I did not think any of this character's attempted comedic moments worked. It just felt like the filmmakers were trying too hard, and the character ended up being pretty annoying as a result of that.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

movie-review-the-sleepover

Grade: C- (72pts)

I had some people staying over my place this past weekend, and I thought this movie would be right up their alley. Unfortunately, while the premise was there, and the cast did the best they could with what they were given, I did not think this movie worked. The plot was weak, and the comedy was pretty ineffective. A lot of it felt desperate, especially the comedy coming from Kevin, and only some of it was even able to mildly amuse me.

The premise could have made for a really great kids movie. It had mystery, it had a heist, it had comedy, and even some action. Unfortunately, the filmmakers were not able to effectively bring any of these things to the screen, and it made the movie tough to get through, even for guests of mine who should have been right in this movie's demographic. It was not exactly a bad movie, but you could definitely find a lot better on Netflix.