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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Sleepover (review)

It is a sad commentary on how Hollywood squanders talent that the first studio feature from Joe Nussbaum — the guy who made that sneakily brilliant little piece of geeky satire “George Lucas in Love” — is this atrocious misadventure in teen self-absorption. Squandering all the tomboy-charm points she earned in the Spy Kids flicks, Alexa Vega stars as Julie, who blames her best friend, Hannah (Mika Boorem: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights), for Hannah’s parents’ decision to move away, and yet lets Hannah talk her into mortal kombat with the “popular” girls on their last night together. Blowing off the sleepover she’s supposed to be hosting, Julie leads Hannah and two other pals in a contest to win, apparently, the title of “Queen Bitch Gorgon” for their upcoming freshman year of high school away from the unintentionally terrifying Barbie doll Stacie (Sara Paxton). Where are all the grownups while 14-year-old Julie is pretending to be a swimsuit model and 8th-grader Stacie is tarting herself up and dating boys old enough drive? Why, they’re busy being utter morons — like the rent-a-cop played by Steve Carell (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), who makes the Three Stooges look smart, or like the schoolteacher played by Johnny Sneed, who appears unbothered by the fact that he readily accepts advice on what women want from a pair of barely pubescent girls. Far from being the harmless fluff its creators seem to think it is, this is an insidiously cheery stamp of approval on shallow selfishness.

MPAA: rated PG for thematic elements involving teen dating, some sensuality and language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

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