The Sleepover

image for The Sleepover

Short takes

Not suitable for children under 8 and parental guidance recommended to 12 (violence and mild coarse language).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for The Sleepover
  • a review of The Sleepover completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 October 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to comedic violent action sequences, mild coarse language, complex plot, and positive depiction of criminal activity.
Children aged 8–12 Parental guidance due to comedic violent action sequences, mild coarse language, complex plot, and positive depiction of criminal activity.
Children over the age of 12 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: The Sleepover
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence.
Length: 103 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Middle-school kid Kevin (Maxwell Simkins) and his teenage sister Clancy (Sadie Stanley) are shocked to find their house ransacked and their parents Ron (Ken Marino) and Margot (Malin Ackerman) kidnapped. They discover that their stay-at-home mum is in fact in the witness protection program! She was once a high-profile thief who cooperated with the FBI, landing a big crime boss in jail. When a YouTube video featuring Margot and Kevin goes viral, Margot’s former partners-in-crime manage to track her down, pressuring her to help them with one last major coup – stealing an extremely valuable piece of jewellery. Clancy, Kevin, and friends Mim (Cree Cricchino) and Lewis (Lucas Jaye), decide to find and rescue their parents, following some clues that their mum has left them. This is the beginning of an action-packed adventure.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Action comedy; Solving crime; Family, Tweens and teens.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • When Margot catches some boys making fun of her son Kevin, she threatens to manipulate the brakes in their parents’ car to cause them to have a bad crash.
  • Margot’s former partners break into Margot and Ron’s house, threaten them with a knife and gun, and threaten to kill them unless they cooperate.
  • Margot and the family dog get sedated, and she and Ron are taken hostage.
  • The kids attack and overpower an FBI agent, tie him up on a chair and leave him there.
  • There are numerous scenes of characters engaging in physical / action / martial-art-style fighting, using kicks, punches, sticks, pushing, wrestling, and throwing things. There is no blood or serious injuries on show.
  • A gun is fired, causing a chandelier to fall on a villain, knocking her out and trapping her, but not severely injuring her.
  • Margot plans to bring the queen who wears the piece of jewellery into contact with a substance that causes strong nausea and vomiting (ultimately, Ron accidentally gets in contact and suffers the consequences).
  • During a car chase, Ron purposefully crashes into the side of the villain’s car, causing the villain to crash into some roadwork barriers. He walks off limping and in pain.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Nothing further noted of concern for this age group.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Nothing further noted of concern for this age group.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Kevin, who is quirky and slightly chubby, is a victim of name-calling and cyber bullying. This might be triggering for kids who are sensitive or personally affected.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Okay for this age group.

Product placement

  • None noted

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Kevin gets excited that his back briefly brushed against “boobs”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Ron and Margot exchange a kiss on the mouth.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language and crude toilet humour in this movie, including:

  • Crap
  • Sucks
  • Turd
  • Jeez
  • Pee-pee
  • Poop
  • Booger

In a nutshell

The Sleepover is an action-packed comedy suitable for a fun family movie experience. It features hilarious, quirky and relatable characters as well as positive messages about courage, friendship, and taking pride in just being oneself. Parents should be aware that this film does glamourise criminal activity to a certain extent – Mum Margot is admired for her ‘cool’ skills and gear and her mysterious criminal past. This, along with frequent action violence and mild coarse language make it unsuitable for a young audience and warrant parental guidance for viewers aged 8 to 12.  

The main messages from this movie are that there is not only one way to be “cool” and that one should be true to oneself and make the most of one’s individual talents.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Courage
  • Teamwork
  • Family cohesion

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Parents may want to reiterate that there is nothing glamourous about being a criminal, no matter how small or large scale. And, of course, that children should never attempt to solve a crime themselves, put themselves or others in danger (e.g. driving a car without a license, breaking into buildings etc.) but report and leave crime-solving to the police.
  • Finding the right balance of freedom, responsibilities, and privileges as a child and teenager – several characters have to negotiate those with their parents, for example Lewis who appears to be overprotected and smothered, or Lancy who feels under peer pressure, and wants a phone and to go to parties.
  • It’s also a good opportunity to point out that bullying, face-to-face or virtually, is not acceptable, and that we should celebrate our individuality and special talents.