The Myth of the American Sleepover

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Swaddled with a lacquer of nostalgia that passes for cultural insight, this one-night-in-sweatpants drama will make you yearn for a moratorium on teen movies---at least ones so aggressively dewy-eyed. We're in suburban Michigan, and summer is winding down in luxuriant slo-mo. Several high-schoolers, all well-performed, bob in a collection of interwoven stories: Rob (Morton) has eyes on a toned blond he spies in the supermarket, Maggie (Sloma) scopes out a hottie by the swimming pool, and plans are afoot for several house parties of varying debauchery. Lacking a single cell phone, these kids simply can't be today's youth. Rather, writer-director David Robert Mitchell seems trapped in an unspecified '90s-ish retro zone, and you wonder how good his sleepovers really were.

To the movie's credit, the way-back machine never sours into cynical comeuppance. No one suffers that much; the best tale, about an adrift collegian, Brett (Jacobsen), pining for the good old days, takes on the creepiness of backward fixations most directly. He recalls a pair of younger twins who he thinks crushed on him and goes on the hunt. It's actually more innocent than it sounds. In Brett's floppy bangs and forlorn demeanor, you might be reminded of Judge Reinhold's king turned loser in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, a film far worthier of your wistfulness.

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Release details

Release date: Friday July 22 2011
Duration: 93 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Robert Mitchell
Screenwriter: David Robert Mitchell
Cast: Amanda Bauer
Marlon Morton
Brett Jacobsen
Claire Sloma
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