THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER - Now On DemandJuly 27, 2011
On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER (IFC Films).
THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER - Now On Demand
By Amy Slotnick
Director David Mitchell’s debut feature film explores the familiar landscape of a summer spent in suburbia, when community pools, bike riding and sleepovers dominate the life of the American teen. In THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER, Mitchell’s characters exist in a non-descript time period, in which cell phones, texting and online anything is avoided. This helps to make the lazy, long days of the non-working teen, waiting for high school to start, seem almost mythic.
Films such as AMERICAN GRAFFITI and DAZED AND CONFUSED are clear influences, but unlike those films, Mitchell avoids any strong plot devices to drive the narrative. Instead the film recalls familiar feelings and a mood to which many can relate.
Four main storylines play out simultaneously on one long, hot day at the end of summer in a generic, mid-western suburb. Adults are absent and it seems like every kid in the town is heading to a sleepover party. But the characters each have their own motives for the night, none of which involve sleeping.
Maggie (Claire Sloma) likes the lifeguard at the town pool, but also wants the burn out kid to like her. She and her sidekick friend ditch the sleepover and head on their bikes to a party by the lake, to find the boys, drink beer and go for a late night swim.
At another sleepover, Amanda (Amanda Bauer), new to the town and without any personal ties to other girls yet, causes trouble by kissing another girl’s boyfriend in the basement. Boys are having their own sleepovers, at which they watch B grade horror movies and look at Playboy-like magazines. Having lied to friends about his experience with girls, Rob (Marlon Morton) takes off from the group and spends the night searching for an anonymous blond girl who he saw for only a moment in the supermarket, hoping that he could actually do with her what he has told everyone he already did.
And Scott (Brett Jacobsen), home from college and heartbroken after being dumped by his high school girlfriend, chases after the town twins, even though at his age it is no longer cool to hang with high school kids.
Each character realizes at some point that their childhood is over, and that the fantasy of being a teenager is not the same as the reality of it. This is not a new idea for a filmmaker to address, and the film has a slow pace and some confusing plot beats.
Although it may not get to your local movie theater, if you are a fan of the independent style coming-of-age story, you will probably identify with the tonal malaise and want to see this while it is available on demand.
Amy Slotnick is a contributor to On Demand Weekly. She works as an independent producer and freelance consultant to film financing start-ups. Previously she was a Senior VP of Production at Miramax Films.
See THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER (IFC Films) On Demand.
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