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Getting Sleepy

Fourteen years on, Sleepover’s time capsule value is beyond its narrative value. It’s stuffed with soon to be mega-stars like Steve Carrell and Brie Larson. Summer Glau earns a small cameo appearance. Scout Taylor-Compton appears in a background role. In the lead, Alexa PenaVega fresh from her stint in Spy Kids. Add in the Spice Girls blaring in the soundtrack and Sleepover is the equivalent of a bat signal for nostalgia.

Good thing too. The tween comedy is rife with pedestrian plotting, performances, and action. Sleepover’s target demographic is remarkably tiny, junior high or freshman high school girls. A story of discovering boys and causing generic harmless mayhem, any younger and the connection isn’t there, any older and the corny fantasy tunes everything out.

It’s all here. Girls sneaking out of their house, in this case to take part in a scavenger hunt to determine who gets the “good” lunch table. The dorky boys. The hot boy. A high school dance. Unpopular girls rebuking the popular girls. Authority figures stumbling over themselves in pursuit. Oblivious parents. Sleepover’s ideas rate lowly on creativity scale.

… a simple, tied-nicely-with-a-bow story arc, predictable and rudimentary

Sleepover isn’t causing any harm though. Mayhem is gentle, aside from using an online dating service as part of the hunt; not the best idea for tween girls, even in Sleepover’s AOL-era internet. Changing clothes on Old Navy’s mannequins and stealing some underwear make better sense.

All works out in the end. One of the girls is bodyshamed but finds the right guy. Mean girls eat next to the dumpster, and super mom Jane Lynch is cool with everything, accepting her daughter’s maturity. That’s a simple, tied-nicely-with-a-bow story arc, predictable and rudimentary, if going by unnoticed by the target audience. In 2018, tween girls might find the Spice Girls a bit perplexing, and the idea of flip phones utterly alien. It’s all true though – the early 2000’s made everyone to look like a technological neophyte.

Walking away from Sleepover at its conclusion means forgetting a majority of what happened. It’s odd – the lesson in the end is more for parents than kids. Sleepover’s value is less in tweens watching on their own sleepover than for daughters and their mothers to better understand their changing relationship. Problem being one half of that audience will eye roll their way through the cliches. The other half might find marginal value at best.


Bursting with color, the Blu-ray release is an instant win for its saturation. An incredible rainbow array of primaries pops from every frame of this presentation. Vibrant flesh tones accentuate their hues but never to an obnoxious tier. Superb reds and blues pop, delivering consistent energy.

Based on softness and general absence of strong texture, Sleepover likely comes from an older master. It’s MGM sourced. Tradition says Sleepover wasn’t touched for this release. Dirt sits on the print as it passes. Grain is well processed by the encode, a bonus since Sleepover holds an unusually high level.

Perky contrast helps and counts for a lot. Depth nails the landing as night falls, with strong black levels. Depth doesn’t waver, and when paired with the color, churns out an attractive image, flaws and all.


Expect only a smidgen of excitement from this DTS-HD 5.1 effort. Scenes in a club and during a dance spread marginally into the rears. That ambiance is typical and unspectacular.

Dialog rests in the center without movement. Some of the soundtrack pushes toward the stereos, giving a little buzz to the low-end. That’s minor. Fidelity maintains a consistent high quality.


All of the bonuses carry over from the original DVD. That begins with a stacked commentary that includes director Joe Nussbaum with his cast of Alexa PenaVega, Scout Taylor-Compton, Mika Boreem, and Kallie Flynn Childress.

A generic making-of runs 10-minutes and Sleepover Confessions invites the cast to discuss their wildest moments as kids. The included gag reel has some great flubs. Two reels of random footage titled Ready Set Action and Wrap Party Reel run four minutes total. Skip ‘em. Profiles on the cast scream early DVD, and there’s a photo gallery up last.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Notable for casting a slew of stars on the verge of breakout, Sleepover is safe and derivative with a small target audience.

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