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Sleepover

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Sleepover

Starring: Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem
Director: Joe Nussbaum
Rated: PG
RunTime: 82 Minutes
Release Date: July 2004
Genres: Comedy, Kids, Family


*Also starring: Scout Taylor-Compton, Kallie Flynn Childress, Sam Huntington, Jane Lynch, Jeff Garlin, Sara Paxton, Eileen April Boylan, Timothy Dowling, Katija Pevec



Reviewer Roundup
1.  Harvey Karten review follows movie reviewvideo review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
3.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewvideo review

Review by Harvey Karten
1½ stars out of 4

When a theater critic begins a review by praising the set design, you know that the play is in trouble. When a movie critic grants kudos first to the dog, you know that the film is in trouble. The best performer in Joe Nussbaum's pic in Chopper the dog, an adorable, medium-height mixed terrier, who is more adept at walking with high-heel shoes than some women and who, unlike others of his ilk, has to be coaxed to eat a pizza. In other words, "Sleepover" is a snooze.

Designed, it seems, mostly to showcase the talent of its upcoming principal actress, Alexa Vega ("Spy Kids") in the role a fourteen-year-old pre-high-school freshman Julie, "Sleepover" follows the bold adventure of a quartet of friends who pretend to be having a girls-only pajama party but who instead have what's called the adventure of their lives. Which is? To go on a scavenger hunt initiated by one of the school's pretty but mean popular girl, Staci (Sara Paxton), whose job other than naming the articles that must be recovered (such as the handsomest boy's boxer shorts) is to emulate the looks and mannerisms of Reese Witherspoon. Unfortunately there's nobody in the cast who can challenged the champs of the teenybopper genre, Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan.

As for the prize offered to the girls who can first dig up the articles, they get to eat lunch at the "fountain" table in the cafeteria rather than by the dumpster. Will anyone in the audience believe that in the posh, Southern Cal location of the action, a table for nerds would be situated right next to the garbage?

As typical in stories of this subgenre, the parents and teachers are all idiots, especially if they try to act like their offspring or students, the kids divided between the smart but unpopular folks and the starlets who are mean and pretty. For example, Julie's dad (Jeff Garlin) is given the job of babysitting the slumber party and makes himself useful by working on purifying the water in the kitchen sink, while Mom (Jane Lynch) is acting mid-life crisis by going clubbing with a friend. (We catch the materfamilias dancing on a table appearing under the influence.) The town's rent-a-cop played by Steve Carell is a bumbler and the kids' teacher could get into serious trouble if a snapshot taken of him with Julie at his side in a nightclub is released.

There's not a heck of a lot of wit, charm or originality in this cookie-cutter offering.

Copyright 2004 Harvey Karten

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