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Review: Sleepover

Sleepover will do for tween girls what Max Keeble’s Big Move did for prepubescent boys: get them beat up at school.

Photo: MGM

Middle school is over and mean-girl Stacie (Sara Paxton) concocts a scavenger hunt for two groups of girls gunning for prime real estate around their future high school’s water-fountain-cum-lunch-area. How wholesome is Sleepover? When Julie (Alexa Vega), a goodie two shoes who can engage and subvert Shakespeare at a moment’s notice (“My kingdom for a lock!”), and her two good friends recruit a chubby girl into their circle of friends, they’re dutifully rewarded with fatty’s electric car (ostensibly because you don’t need a license to drive them), which they use to get to a mall, a cheesy nightclub, a skater boy’s house, and, finally, the high school dance. But while they’re supposed to be scavenging, it seems like the girls spend more time acting out a series of ABC Afterschool Specials (the overriding lesson here is that fat girls have feelings too).

There’s no penetration in Sleepover, but the threat of it certainly looms in the air. When Julie breaks into her would-be boyfriend’s home, she has to retrieve a pair of his boxer shorts. After sneaking a peek at his butt, she closes the shower curtain (don’t ask!) just in time to miss his nether-regions (damn!). Later, after she’s snagged the boy and he’s pressing up against her and getting ready for some tongue action, he asks for his boxers back. Awwwwwww. No, wait! Ewwwwwww. He’s not wearing underwear! Like the film itself, Steve (Sean Faris) may look wholesome, but something sinister lurks beneath. (Julie’s mother tells her daughter, “I guess I missed the bridge between ladybugs and boys,” when she really should be looking for the bridge between boys and their aerating testicles.)

Things I learned while watching Sleepover: If you’re fat, you can only expect to get a boyfriend who eats as many brownies as you do; the Spice Girls are still relevant; dressing in drag and having a pizza eating contest with a dog is perfectly normal behavior for a college student; and “Oh for the love of carbs!” is apparently the PG-rated version of “Fuck you, Mom!” I used to watch the Disney Channel for the classic shorts—now it’s a needless pit stop between the Food and Cartoon Networks. Essentially a Disney Channel program stretched to an impossibly long and thoroughly embarrassing hour-and-a-half, Sleepover will do for tween girls what Max Keeble’s Big Move did for prepubescent boys: get them beat up at school.

Cast: Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem, Jane Lynch, Sam Huntington, Sara Paxton, Brie Larson, Scout Taylor-Compton, Douglas Smith, Katija Pevec Director: Joe Nussbaum Screenwriter: Elisa Bell Distributor: MGM Running Time: 97 min Rating: PG Year: 2004 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

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