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Film / The Sleepover

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The Sleepover is a 2020 American action comedy film directed by Trish Sie and starring Sadie Stanley, Maxwell Simkins, Cree Cicchino, Lucas Jaye, Ken Marino, Joe Manganiello, and Malin Åkerman, released on Netflix on August 21, 2020.

Margot Finch (Akerman) is a suburban housewife, married to pastry chef Ron (Marino), with a son, Kevin (Simkins) and daughter Clancy (Stanley). After a video taken of Kevin dancing in a restroom at school goes viral on YouTube, and Clancy and Margot get into a fight over Clancy not being able to go to a Senior party which will be attended by her crush, Travis, which results in her being grounded. Also, some shadowy figures note Margot's appearance in the video with a great degree of interest. Kevin prepares for an outdoor sleepover with his best friend, Lewis (Jaye), who has an incredibly over-protecting mother, while Clancy and her best friend Mim (Cicchino) plot to sneak out to the party.

When Lewis heads inside to use the bathroom, he witnesses Margot and Ron being abducted by some criminals who know Margot under a different name, Mathilde, but only after Margot snaps off her necklace and leaves a clue in the spilled sugar on the countertop. The children follow the clues, guided through their mother's mysterious past as an international jewel thief while Margot is forced to participate in one last heist with her former fiancé, Leo (Manganiello), who entered into Witness Protection the same time she did, after they turned in evidence regarding the boss of their theft and smuggling organization.

This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Kevin manages to convince a security guard that they're the new musical act by pointing out that no one would normally be wearing the Colonial costumes they're in, and showing off his viral video and how many millions hits it has.
  • Becoming the Mask: Margot is happy with her new life and family.
  • Big Bad Friend: Leo never actually went into Witness Protection. He took over the operation, and plans to pin the heist on Margot after killing her if she doesn't run off with him.
  • Blatant Lies: a Running Gag is Kevin telling lies to everyone, and them seeing past it. Even his less imaginary lies such as playing Jaws in "Jaws" is rather thin. Thankfully the one time Kevin told a believable lie is when needed.
  • Bumbling Dad: Ron provides plenty of embarrassment for his children with his goofy nature. He also made it impossible for Margot and Leo to do their mission without him blowing their cover.
  • Cassandra Truth: Kevin more than once tells people about who Margot really was and the abduction situation. But because of his Compulsive Liar tendencies and young age, nobody believes him, which is probably for the best.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Ron's incredibly strong grip, from hours of kneading dough, gets invoked several times.
    • Kevin is introduced glibly telling a whopper of a tale about his family history that's explicitly called out as being ripped off from The Martian, with his ability to come up with detailed lies on the spot coming in handy later.
    • Clancy's cello-playing ability is introduced early on as being exceptional, and it proves to be part of how they establish themselves as legitimate at the party.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The story would had never happened had Kevin resisted the urge to dance in the bathroom, giving an eighth grader an chance to film a video that caught the attention of Margot's old smuggling organization.
  • Improvised Weapon: Leo and Margot use repeated improvised weapons after escaping from security including the chairs they were tied to, a flagpole, and its flag. In a later scene, Margot throws multiple items at Elise during their last fight.
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: Margot leaves behind a hint to her children, "Angus" scrawled in the sugar and her necklace.
    • Angus is the name of their dog named after the dog that Leo and Margot had together in her old life and his collar has an address on it along with the symbol on their mother's necklace.
    • The address leads them to a storage facility with Margot's old equipment and a matchbook for a bar downtown with a name and a phone number missing the last digit.
    • The bar has been turned into a dry-cleaner's, but they realize that the library opposite it is one which Margot says she spent much of her childhood, that the name on the matchbook, William, is likely a reference to William Butler Yeats, and the "phone number" is a call number.
    • The book referenced isn't present, but William Butler Yeats's portrait is nearby and one of the symbols matches the necklace with an inset matching that symbol nearby. Pressing the necklace into the slot unlocks the portrait, which swings open to reveal a staircase leading down into some tunnels.
    • Within the tunnels, they find what looks like a hideout, currently occupied by a former partner of their mother's.
    • Said partner produces a box that she was told to open "when the time comes". It contains a device that maps to a tracking device on Margot.
  • Running Gag:
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Clancy tries to sneak out to go to Travis' party but Ron caught her. He assumes she was trying to sneak a bite of his cupcakes and she went along with it. Turns out, it was really Kevin who was eating his food.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Realizing that he's the only one small enough to fit through a window and break into a building, Lewis does a miniature Lock-and-Load Montage to psych himself up for the task...and finds that, not being the most physically able person, he still needs a boost from the others to actually climb up to the window.
  • Tap on the Head: The various mooks are easily taken out of commission with single hits and stay down. The "less lethal" aspect of this is given a nod when Margot takes down a mook by punching him in the throat, and when asked if she killed the man, she said that he was only incapacitated and would recover in a few minutes, adding under her breath "with immediate medical attention".
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Ron accidentally takes the contact poison meant for the Queen, and winds up projectile vomiting for a few minutes.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Largely a non-betrayal case, where Ron repeats this over and over again as new revelations about Margot's past comes up. But in Ron's defense, lying to your spouse about your past for over a decade is a bit of a betrayal...
  • Witless Protection Program: Mostly averted. For over a decade, Margot follows the rules, and the US Marshall assigned to her case, Henry Gibbs, tries to get ahold of her as soon as he realizes that she shows up in that viral clip. That said, he's overpowered by four kids when they catch him apparently breaking into the house, and he's apparently unable to get the video taken down from YouTube since it's shown off in a later scene.