Director: Trish Sie
Writer(s): Sarah Rothschild
Cast: Malin Akerman, Joe Manganiello, Ken Marino
Synopsis: When two siblings discover their seemingly normal mom is a former thief in witness protection who has been forced to pull one last job, they team up to rescue her over the course of an action-packed night.
In 2019, Netflix, as a streaming service, looked to be heading on a downhill spiral. With basically every major network opting for their own streaming platforms, the content that was constantly pulling people into the Netflix app, and making them push “Continue Watching” when asked was announced as being removed from the platform. This left many Netflix families in a frenzy as the content from Netflix was clearly not geared towards a kid-centric audience.
In November, in an effort to salvage what they could, Netflix signed a multi-year deal with Nickelodeon to allow Nick content on their platform. This move was clearly seen as a way to not only bring in nostalgic content for older audiences but showed Netflix had an idea that they wanted to bring in more family-oriented content as well.
I don’t say this to tie Nickelodeon and The Sleepover together in any other way than to say if you had slapped an orange slimy “Nick” logo in the bottom corner of the screen, I wouldn’t have batted an eye. This movie is clearly for kids. The humor is extremely kid-oriented from the complete buffoonery of Kevin and his dad, to the easily digestible plot, this film was made for children to see it.
I am not going to knock the fact that this clearly just wasn’t for me, but my issue is that we have seen extremely kid style movies work in the past on a much better scale than this. Kevin (Maxwell Simkins) is almost a caricature of what a middle school kid is perceived to be. The writing for him in particular was just atrocious. Kids will find humor out of it, but anyone else will immediately withdraw from him altogether. The same can go for Ken Marino who plays his father, Ron. I hate being overly critical, but it just wasn’t good at all.
The only reason I am being so critical on them is because Sadie Stanley really did give a pretty solid performance. Was her character arc cliche? Obviously, but she was able to pull the most of what she was given, and tried to give this movie a little more heart that it really needed.
But to be completely honest, this movie is just a harmless hour and forty minutes that you can put on for kids and they will be entertained. That’s what movies are really for is entertaining, and I know there will be people who get something out of this movie. It just won’t be me.
Final: The Sleepover is a harmless movie that kids might enjoy, but parents won’t get anything out of it.
Awards Prospects: None
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.