Sleepover (2004)

(In theaters, July 2004) Granted, I’m not the target audience for this film. It’s still not much of an excuse when the result is so uneven. Comedies aimed at 10-to-12-year olds can be simplistic if they wish, but that’s not an excuse for them to be stupid. Here, the writing oscillates between decency and eye-rolling awfulness. There’s a faintly creepy atmosphere in how it blatantly aims, through innuendo, sexual situations at pre-teen girls… but what do I know about that age group, right? I was, truthfully, a bit more disturbed by the way the characters lived in upper-middle-class paradise (complete with private security forces) as if it was normalcy. There’s no attempt at teaching any kind of deeper message here beyond “cool is good and happiness can be found only through a boyfriend”. Gaaah; it’s the revenge of superficial status-seeking for a new generation. If you’re going to feed stupid teen comedies to you kids, at least make sure they have the right message. At least, acting-wise, there are a few rewards: Alex Vega shows that there is a career for her after the Spy Kids trilogy and she’s ably helped by Mika Boorem in a strong supporting role. Laugh-wise, most of the good stuff is focused on Sam Huntington’s quasi-stoner big brother, with some additional laugh going to the skateboarder trio. A early-teen comedy barely worth remembering if it wasn’t for its surprisingly creepy undertones.

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