A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is filled with the kind of parental concerns that aren't factored into the MPAA's rating system. The main characters -- young teenage girls -- sneak out of the house after promising not to. They make a date with a man they met on the Internet with the plan of getting him to buy one of them a drink. They then sneak into a club and drink alcohol. One girl secretly watches a boy undress (from the rear, nudity off screen). They vandalize property, imprison a security guard, drive without licenses, make an overweight girl feel bad about herself. Many characters lie, including adults. One of the girls loses a boyfriend by refusing to "hook up" with him but apparently brags to her friends that she did. There is also some bathroom humor and intrusive product placement.
What's the story?
SLEEPOVER is the story of Julie (Alexa Vega of Spy Kids) and three friends who participate in a scavenger hunt with a significant prize -- the favored "power" lunch spot for the whole school year. To win, Julie and her friends have to get a man they meet on the Internet to buy them a drink, put their clothes on the mannequins in the Old Navy store window, and steal a security guard's car decal and the boxers of the boy of Julie's dreams. They promise not to leave the house but sneak out anyway. At the club, it turns out that the Internet mystery date is none other than the girls' nerdy teacher. Once that gets sorted out, they continue their quest. They climb on a roof, run away from a security guard and lock him up, hide in a shower stall while a boy takes off all his clothes and then steal his boxers, and drive without permission or a license. Bottom line? They cause a lot of damage for which they take no responsibility.
Is it any good?
Sleepover is supposed to be a touching, lighthearted PG comedy, but these 14-year-old girls violate every rule they agreed to. While the movie pits the nice girls against the mean girls, by the end of the movie it's frankly hard to tell them apart. They lie, cheat, vandalize, steal, sneak out of the house and into a bar, order a drink with a man they met on the Internet, and sneak into a high school dance by telling the girl taking tickets she has to let them in so they don't turn into a lonely loser like her.
Vega and the other girls are appealing performers, especially Mika Boorem as Julie's best friend and Sara Paxton as snooty Mean Girl Stacie. The "why can't you understand I'm growing up" and "how can I survive if my best friend moves away?" themes will ring familiar with the intended audience, but the movie's irresponsible portrayal of extremely risky and destructive behavior and its distorted notion of girl power make it very iffy for tweens and eevn young teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether any of the characters in this movie can be considered a positive role model. Why or why not?
What kinds of consequences do you think the girls' behavior would have in real life? Why aren't those consequences fully shown here?
Why do you think Julie and Stacie stopped being friends?
What can parents and young teens do to get used to the idea that kids are growing up?
- In theaters: July 9, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: November 23, 2004
- Cast: Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem, Scout Taylor-Compton
- Director: Joe Nussbaum
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, High School
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements involving teen dating, some sensuality and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.