Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Myth of the American Sleepover

We were lured into going to this film (which is a late addition to the festival) today by a 2 for 1 ticket offer and we should have resisted the temptation. It was a slow-moving story about how assorted bunches of American teenagers spend the last night of the summer vacation. They're all supposed to be at single sex sleepovers but they go AWOL to fraternise with the opposite sex and drink a lot. The brochure blurb suggested a charmingly nostalgic tale of adolescence, but that isn't what was delivered.

It is perhaps not surprising that a film with the word myth in the title is unbelievable. Ludicrous, even. Given the quantity of alcohol that was consumed, nobody seemed worse for wear - there was only one delicate vomiting episode from which the victim recovered incredibly quickly. Not only did no-one appear drunk, there was no bad language, no breakages and they all drove or walked all over town in the middle of the night and came to no harm. There was no sexual aggression or unwanted groping and I found it amazing that not only did one boy say "can I kiss you?" or "I want to kiss you" before doing it but they all did. All the characters were ridiculously articulate.

Just to round out my list of gripes, the film was a funny colour - sort of faded. Perhaps this was supposed to add to sense of nostalgia that the maker was trying to cultivate, but I just found it irritating. And while it was clearly supposed to be set on a balmy summer evening, it just didn't look warm.

Anne's rating 2/5

This film followed a cute Kiwi short film about young boys breaking into an old house in search of Playboy magazines. By comparison The Myth of the American Sleepover was filmed with a faded looking colour cast. This plus the timeless fashion might be intended to give the film a nostalgic look but really nostalgia is better achieved by picking a subject the viewers are familiar with and emotionally attached to. Unfortunately alcohol and chasing the opposite sex were not part of my teenage years, so I am probably not the target audience for this film, and it didn't win me over.

I agree with Anne about how impervious to alcohol these teenagers seemed to be. I wasn't as irritated by the film as Anne was but it isn't a film I'd recommend.

Ian's rating 1.5/5

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:50 pm

    The entire idea of this film was to play off of the forgotten existence of teenage innocence, instead of showing things like "sexual aggression" or kids coming to harm. A regular summer night in the lives of a teen..not your typical American Teen Film fantasy of what a summer night should be. I'm not sure where you are from, but I know that when I was growing up, I didn't need to have lived an American teen summer to face violence or experience binge drinking that resulted in me getting extremely sick. Most nights were in fact, as you say, slow moving.

    Of course I can respect your film critique, but along with many others at Cannes, I highly enjoyed this film and it did remind me of what it was like to be a teenager, which I grately appreciated.