The Slumber Party’s premise is basically the PG version of The Hangover. Four friends are having a slumber party, and invite a hypnotist over, because why not? The hypnotist, played by the always entertaining Tituss Burgess, is actually legit, so the four girls find themselves hypnotized into a night of revelry and fun. Just like The Hangover, the next day they wake up with no memory of the night before, and their friend Anna Maria is missing. The stakes are high, since Anna Maria’s dad is getting married later on in the day, and they need to find her before the adults find out what they’ve been up to.
It’s not the most unique movie that way, but it’s still pretty entertaining and has quite a few set pieces that will have you laughing out loud. With Anna Maria missing for most of the movie, the main action of the film is carried by the trio of Megan (Darby Camp), Paige (Emmy Liu-Wang) and Veronica (Alex Cooper Cohen). Megan is the goody two shoes adverse to trying new things. With both her dads being therapists, Megan is mature and self aware, and is all about doing the responsible thing, which is why Anna Marie and Paige leave her out of the fun at times. Paige is the rebel. She’s fearless and always egging everyone on, pushing them to try new things.
Veronica is new to the group. She’s Anna Maria’s soon to be stepsister, and even though the girls don’t initially want her there, nothing brings people closer together than a night of rule-breaking fun. Veronica is also the one driving most of the comedy in the movie. She has her passion for parkour, some weird Troy and Gabriella thing going on with Paige’s brother Mikey (Dallas Liu), and just generally lacks social awareness. Cooper Cohen is hilarious and commits to every single bit. I found myself cringing and laughing at the same time.
The best part about the movie is that these girls look like tweens. So many movies and TV shows about high schoolers involve young people behaving like adults, so it’s refreshing to see that their wild night of fun is authentic to how fourteen year olds would behave. It’s sweet, juvenile fun, like TPing the house of Megan’s crush Jake Ramirez (Ramon Jose Rodriguez), or stealing the mascot of a rival school. Even though Megan and Jake don’t have many scenes together, the romance is sweet and unfolds in a cute, believable way. There’s also quite a bit of corny music to set up the girls and their crushes, and it’s hilarious to hear Brian McKnight’s Back at One playing while Jake moves his hand through his hair stylishly.
The core theme that underscores the entire film is the changing concept of family in modern society. Anna Maria is struggling with her dad’s impending nuptials since that will bring about so many changes to their family. This cements her dad having another family of his own, and she laments no longer having a normal family. Both Megan and Paige also don’t have conventional family set-ups, and they get offended by what she says but they also understand her struggles with all these changes. The Slumber Party emphasizes, in true coming of age fashion, that there is so much of life that’s beyond our control, and sometimes we just need to roll with the punches. Anna Maria’s anger and refusal to accept these changes affects herself more than others.
It is a bit strange that she experiences life-changing revelations, and we don’t really get to see it since the night is only given to us in snippets, so it’s a plot point that doesn’t feel earned as a result. But hey, I had a blast watching it, and The Slumber Party is a perfectly suitable movie to enjoy with your family.
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Considering the films that have come out recently, like No Hard Feelings and Joy Ride, it's great to see female-centred chaos at the comedic forefront. The Slumber Party is a wickedly fun coming of age addition to the genre.
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