The Myth of the American Sleepover

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Myth of the American Sleepover Movie Poster Image
Moody exploration of teen social lives; lots of drinking.
  • NR
  • 2011
  • 93 minutes

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age 10+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

At the end of the night, most of the teens seem to learn a lesson and benefit from it. One character is very sweet and appears to place more stock in a girl's personality than her burgeoning sexuality. That said, there are tons of underage drinkers and smokers here, which doesn't send the best message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main leads are kids -- and, as such, they don't always make the best decisions. They lie, cheat, sneak, drink, and generally test their boundaries. But they're also idealistic and sometimes sweet.


A girl punches another after a painful discovery; a boy is egged by his friends.


Teens grope each other and make out; some characters do so with multiple people in the same night. Lots of flirting and checking people out.


Pretty salty, including "f--k" and "slut."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Plenty of scenes depict underage drinking (wine, beer, and hard liquor). It seems to be the way of life in the town in which the film is set. Teens throw up, pass out, and make out while inebriated. In one house, a girl prepares to snort cocaine; some young characters also smoke cigarettes. References to weed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this drama about the last night of summer in a suburban Detroit town is fairly realistic in the way it portrays its teen characters. They swear ("f--k" and more), get drunk, smoke, and make out at the drop of a hat. But they have idealistic notions, too, that haven't yet been tarnished by hard-won cynicism. Expect kissing, groping, and sexual innuendo, and lots of underage drinking -- sometimes to the point of throwing up or passing out.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byI's for movies February 17, 2012

False reputations

Oh it was really good the reivew gives it a bad rep mild sex content and heavy drinkig tho

What's the story?

It's the last night of summer, and the teens in a suburban Detroit town are at various sleepovers for a last hurrah. Maggie (Claire Sloma) laments that she hasn't done anything adventurous yet and sets out to correct the situation, chasing one flirty boy with her friend, Beth (Annette DeNoyer), and surprisingly getting to know another. Rob (Marlon Morton) just saw the prettiest girl ever at the grocery store, and he's determined to find her before the night is out. Claudia (Amanda Bauer), who just moved to town and already has an older boyfriend, has been invited to a party girl's house; eager to widen her social circle, she agrees. And Scott (Brett Jacobsen), a college junior wallowing in self-pity after a painful break-up, chases his blues away by looking up two former, younger schoolmates who've just graduated.

Is it any good?

Rambling, interesting, and fairly insightful, THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER captures the restlessness and yearning that beset almost every teenager, especially on their last night of freedom. Simply put, the feel is just right -- a feat considering how many movies about this particular age group are tone-deaf. There's sexual energy, but it's all over the place. There's thrill-seeking, in an oblivious, sometimes dangerous way. There's betrayal that seems so dramatic but, with distance and perspective, actually isn't.


For all of its suggestiveness and drinking, there's a certain nostalgia to the movie. The teens don't text (nor sext); they walk to their sleepovers, not drive; they play Ouiji boards instead of video games. Facebook is nowhere to be seen (neither is the Internet), and the soundtrack doesn't overwhelm. For the most part, it works, and charmingly, too. Yet a disconnect does set in as we watch clearly modern adolescents and young adults take stabs at adulthood in a tech vacuum. (Surely, Rob could have found his dream girl via Google?) It gets distracting, but thankfully, not too often.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the movie offers a realistic view of teen life. Do you think the emotions and behavior on display here -- especially the drinking -- are accurate, or are they exaggerated for entertainment?

  • Why do stories about teens so often involve drinking? What role does alcohol play in teens' social lives? Is that always the case? Parents, talk to your teens about the real-life consequences of this stuff.

Movie details

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