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Director: Joe Nussbaum

Producers: Bob Cooper, Robert Cooper, Charles Weinstock

Written by: Elisa Bell

Cast: Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem, Scout Taylor-Compton, Kallie Flynn Childress, Douglas Smith, Steven Carrell, Sara Paxton, Sam Huntington,


Can a movie give you a toothache? I mean, with its sugary-sweetness, and all? If so, then stock up on your dental before entering the Nickolodeon realms of Sleepover, whose uber “You go girl!”ness could make a Spice Girl cry.

Sleepover stars the curly-haired Lohanite Alexa Vega as Julie, the ever-angsted teenager who must cope with both the frightening prospect of entering high school in three months as well as doing it sans best friend Hannah (Boorem). To mark the end of her glory days in middle school, Julie decides to throw the ever-popular slumber party, painted nails and all. Everything is going swell until former best friend and present Miss Popular, Stacie (Paxton), shows up with a challenge: a scavenger hunt. Oh, but this is no ordinary scavenger hunt—no no, this one involves nifty sticker cameras and boys’ underpants! It’s cuh-razy!

So yes, zany adventures ensue, and every stock character ever portrayed in a typical teenie-bopper flick is happily represented. You’ve got the nerdy girls—including a chica who (and I don’t mean this maliciously) bears an uncanny resemblance to Princess Fiona from Shrek—(Lynch, Childress), the pretty girls, the dreamboat (Faris), and a whole brigade of Michael Anthony Hall throwbacks (Smith). The only exception is Julie’s lazy college drop-out brother Ren (Huntington), who I swear is the love-child of Owen Wilson and David Arquette. His character was a little over-the-top, but there’s some definite potential there if Huntington tones down the dramatic goofiness factor a bit. Also amusing was the neighborhood’s local security patrol—or Rent-a-Cop (Carrell). I don’t know why, but his repeated cries of “Tiny green car!” cracked me up. Don’t ask, you’ll see.

This film pretty much feels like your second-favorite Disney Channel sitcom stretched over an hour and a half. The dialogue and storyline are so abrupt and spastic at the beginning that you can physically feel the jolt as each segment changes gears. Flow is severely missing. For a 13-year-old crowd, though, I suppose a seamless story isn’t such a high priority. The dialogue is also rather unbelievable at times. At one point Julie cries out in aggravation, “My kingdom for a lock!” Riiiiight… The aggravated and acidly sarcastic remarks which we as an audience now associate with conversations between parent and child come fast and furious in this movie, but with such a lack of sincerity that I felt a drumset should have been set up in the corner. “Witty one-liner here.” Ba-da-bump! See how well that works?

The sugary-sweetness comes in the traditional moral of learning to love yourself. When pudgy Yancy complains how guys never look at her, Hannah asks her whether she prefers brownies or some sort of vegetable. Well, duh, brownies! “Ok,” replies Hannah with self-satisfaction, “Then you’ll just have to find a guy who likes brownies.” Gasp! Such depth, such insight! But, once again, I forget that this film was never intended for the likes of me. I’m sure if I were 13 I would receive it with marginally better grace than I do now. Either way, it’s a clean, decent film to take your daughter/niece/little sister to on a dull summer day. If you enjoyed Hillary Duff’s and Lindsay Lohan’s recent works, then be sure to IM your BFF and buy a tic ASAP.

—Emily Younger

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

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