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On the last day of 8th grade before their freshman year in high school, Julie has a slumber party with three best friends: Hannah, Yancy, and Farrah. As a trio, they end up having the adventure of their lives. To win the legendary high school lunch spot by the fountains, they must win a all-night scavenger hunt against their popular girl rivals. Unfortunately, Julie's mom has firm rules about the party. Her number one rule? Don't leave the house. But Julie and her friends won't let a little thing like parental authority stand in the way of social domination. To win the race, they sneak out of the house, steal a car, snatch a cute boy's boxer shorts, crash a high school dance, and torment a security guard with an inflated ego. And along the way, some of the girls might just find love. Because anything is possible at Julie's sleepover. Written by
Sujit R. Varma, Emily Moore and Spring Blachly
There's a lot worse out there, but only go for Sleepover if you're a tween, the parent of a tween, or perhaps just nostalgic.
Kids are running out of classrooms, shrieking and throwing papers in the air. A pop track pumps while the ubiquitous slow-mo panning camera follows the wannabes watching the popular girls strutting the corridor. That's right, school's out for summer in yet another John Hughes-inspired teen-flick.
You can loathe it, you can tolerate it, but I confess to a secret fondness of the genre. Although it's cluttered with ordinary films, this homogeneity is part of the unique comfort a teen comedy can offer. They're films to watch when you're sick, where bullies get their comeuppance, and moral codes are simpler than in an adult world. And kids enjoy them too.
Sleepover begins with Julie (Alexa Vega) inviting three friends for a slumber party to celebrate graduating from Junior High (Year 8). Of course, her former best friend Staci (Sara Paxton) can't come she's a teen queen now. Sporting a superior blonde 'Farrah' reminiscent of nasty Caroline (Haviland Morris) in Hughes' Sixteen Candles (1984), you just know that Staci's a bitch with a heart of gold. She and her catty trio of 'Mean Girls' challenge Julie and her buddies to a scavenger hunt. The winners get the coveted lunch spot at high school next year and the passport to popularity.
Julie, Hannah (Mika Boorem), Farrah (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Yancy (Kallie Flynn Childress) sneak out of the house, avoiding Julie's renovation-mad dad and bribing her slacker brother. They're aided by three irritating Ashton Kutchner-aspirational types, chased by a rent-a-cop and come to rely on a tiny electric car that needs constant recharging. Plus Julie has to steal her secret crush's boxer shorts. Producer Chuck Weinstock came up with the idea of Sleepover because his previous projects were too adult in content for his six and nine-year old children to watch. But there are some edgy aspects in Sleepover that wouldn't have been included in the 1980s teen films it pays homage to. For example, 14-year old Staci has to fend off sexual advances from her high school beau a rarity for girls that age in Hollywood films, although possibly not in real life. And in a later scene Julie has to persuade her teacher to buy her a drink called "Sex on the Beach" at a nightclub to win the competition. Though these elements are ignored in the broader context of the film, and may be inappropriate, they certainly make Sleepover more interesting.
Although pleasant, Sleepover isn't one of the better examples of the genre. It's a disposable girly tween twist on Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but buoyed by Vega's strong screen presence. You know you shouldn't enjoy it, but you're probably going to. **½/***** stars.
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