When a parent or spouse is revealed to have a secret identity, it’s supposed to be a game changer. The information invites a total recalibration of the relationship. Trish Sie’s uninspired action-comedy “The Sleepover,” now streaming on Netflix, follows this formula superficially, but never grounds the reveal, or its consequences, in much emotional truth.
Without that core believability, the kidnapping of Margot (Malin Akerman), a former jewel thief and current domesticated mother, never upends the family’s dynamics convincingly because her life has so little detail. The oafish Kevin (Maxwell Simkins) and the awkward cellist Clancy (Sadie Stanley), her children who embark on an adventure to save her, have unsure chemistry as siblings, and their jabs at one another feel forced and unnatural. Ken Marino, too, feels out of place as her husband Ron. He’s presented not only as ordinary to a point of mockery but also as the film’s source of its wackiest attempted jokes.
Exploring the intricacies of personal relationships when the terms have been redefined is fertile ground. Doing so through the spy genre can offer insight into who we really are and who we are playing for someone. But “The Sleepover” barely imagines the new role that Margot takes on after her life of crime, while her previous role is too clichéd and nonspecific.
As “The Sleepover” juggles the genres of heist movie, action thriller, scavenger hunt and teen/tween comedy, it never finds an identity which it slips into effortlessly, the way a good thief can.
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. Watch on Netflix.
Source: NY Times – Review