Directed by Trish Sie, The Sleepover follows two siblings who, with the help of their friends, venture out to rescue their mum whose life as high-profile thief has been hidden from them… until now.
The Sleepover brings with it a good cast and a straightforward premise that would cater well to families with kids, however, outside of that demographic there’s not much going on to really draw people in. Everything about this film from the story to the performances is incredibly forgettable. It’s not a horrible story and the comedy isn’t completely absent, it’s just entirely forgettable, does nothing new and runs at way too slow of a pace to feel like an adventure.
The story takes a while to really get going, if it even ever does, kicking off with a very slow pace that introduces every character and sets up what is to come. I will say that’s one thing it does well in hindsight; the setup of things to happen later is well executed. It just takes so long for all the pieces to begin falling into place that the story loses steam before it has even begun. Going into the second act, I really hoped the pace would increase and the adventure would begin to shape the film but it never gets there. It all just seems very flat whether the story is focusing on the adults or the kids. The adults’ journey does have a little more to it since you have better performances leading it, but it’s still not enough.
In terms of the comedic elements, there are a couple of light chuckles here and there, but they’re so sporadic that you’ll quickly forget there were any. I mentioned earlier that The Sleepover really hinges on catering to families with kids and that’s evident in the humour. The comedic beats delivered through the child actors and Ken Marino are very silly and don’t really elevate the film for older audiences.
As far as the performances go, Joe Manganiello (Leo) and Malin Akerman (Margot) do their best to bring some level of enjoyment to their scenes. If it wasn’t for these two, it would be a much harder film to sit through. Their experience shows and they both have a level of charisma and chemistry that leads to some of the more enjoyable sequences. Ken Marino (Ron) is there for the comedic relief and basically has the same role as the kids. Despite bringing a couple of chuckles here and there, the silly nature of his character is more of a hinderance than a highlight.
When it comes to the child-performances they’re all fine and play into exactly who they’re supposed to be. Maxwell Simkins (Kevin) is the “funny one”, going for all the ridiculous silly laughs and where the vast majority of the comedy is delivered. Lucas Jaye (Lewis) and Cree Cicchino (Mim) are okay, there’s nothing special about their performances and they both just tag along to have a larger group on the adventure. Sadie Stanley (Clancy) is the one who really shows the most potential to be a star actress of the group. She’s essentially the lead of the film and, for the most part, does a great job at dictating the energy of a scene. None of the aforementioned performances really shine, but none of them are unbearable either.
In the end, there’s nothing much about The Sleepover that warrants sitting through it. It seems to be a film that would cater to a distinctly younger audience with not much there for any other demographics. The story is almost entirely forgettable, with nothing other than a couple of moments actually making a notable impact. The performances are all fine, however, without the presence of Joe Manganiello, Malin Akerman and Sadie Stanley, there wouldn’t be much to go on at all.