Clancy and her mom, Margot, don’t see eye to eye on anything.
Clancy wants a cell phone; her mom doesn’t see the point. Clancy wants to attend a party at a boy’s house; her mom doesn’t approve if there are no parents present. Clancy wants to audition for a summer music program in Boston; her mom would rather she stayed home.
It’s not that Margot isn’t exercising good parenting, it’s just that Clancy thinks her mom has no life. “You’re pathetic!” Clancy tells her.
Well, that gets Clancy grounded—after all, you can’t talk to your mom like that. So, Clancy and her best friend, Mim, decide to sneak out and go to that boy’s party anyways. But before the girls can make their escape, ninjas break into Clancy’s house and kidnap her parents.
Turns out Margot isn’t quite as lame and pathetic as Clancy thought. She’s actually a former thief with Black Ops training. And for the past 15 years, she’s been living under witness protection.
But now that Margot’s past has finally caught up to her, it’s up to Clancy; Mim; Clancy’s eccentric little brother, Kevin; and his sheltered best friend, Lewis, to save their parents.
Clancy gradually realizes the reason her mom is so overprotective is because she doesn’t want Clancy following in her dangerous footsteps and getting hurt. Even as Margot hot-wires a car and beats people up, she tells her kids that her former life as a thief was wrong and emphasizes the fact that she’s only doing these things now to stop the real bad guys and protect her family.
Clancy also apologizes to Kevin for being mean to him recently. She admits that she is jealous of his courage to just be himself and tells him that he’s a great storyteller. Kevin in turn tells Clancy that she’s an amazing musician and that she shouldn’t be afraid to use her talents.
Kevin has a tendency to lie and exaggerate. This causes problems for him in school when a teacher fails him for making up a story about his family for a social studies project. However, Kevin’s storytelling actually turns out to be a good thing when it helps him and his sister save their parents. And in the end, he learns how to tell the truth.
A young boy overcomes his long-term bed-wetting problem. Clancy overcomes her stage fright.
A boy crosses himself.
Margot gets kissed by her ex-fiancé, Leo, right in front of her husband, Ron. Though she doesn’t seem to return his advances, Leo continues to undermine Ron and Margot’s relationship throughout the film, eventually asking Margot to leave her husband and family behind, much to Ron’s chagrin.
Ron and Margot kiss after she reassures him that despite her past with Leo, her relationship with Ron is the “real deal” and that she loves him.
Kevin has a crush on Mim and stares at her rear end when she climbs over him to get into a car (for which Clancy calls him a “perv”). He later gushes to Lewis that he felt her breast on his back when he helped her swim to shore. He also puckers his lips to kiss her, but she turns away.
We see a man in boxers and a tank top.
Margot and Leo beat up several security guards to escape arrest (at one point, using a flagpole as a weapon). Ron asks if Margot killed one of the men, but she insists she only crushed his windpipe and that he will be OK with medical attention.
Margot fights several other people, throwing glasses in people’s faces and hitting a man in the groin with a plate. Ron throws a lethal spider in the face of a woman with a gun to distract her. Margot tells Ron to shoot the woman when he gets her gun; but Ron accidentally shoots a chandelier instead, causing it to fall on the woman and knock her out.
Ron and Margot are held at gunpoint multiple times and have their lives threatened. Someone holds a knife to Ron’s throat. During a car chase, Kevin accidentally activates a laser pen that blows up a parked car. Later, Ron purposely hits the car they are chasing, causing it to crash.
Kevin throws a plastic sword at a man’s face, and the man is tackled by Clancy, Mim and Lewis. Kevin has his head slammed into a table by a woman. Someone threatens to kill Clancy. Margot threatens to cut the brake lines of some teenage bullies. We see a pizza delivery man knocked unconscious in the backseat of a car.
Although there are no harsh profanities, we do hear God’s name misused about 30 times. A girl also screams “Satan” as a type of profanity when she walks through a spider web by accident.
We also hear a lot of name-calling, including “nerd,” “loser,” “meatball,” “turd,” “freak” and “dork.” There are also several non-cursing substitutions, including “sugar balls,” “geez,” “gosh,” “sucks” and “shoot.”
Margot attempts to poison someone so that the person will experience food poisoning-like symptoms. A dog is heavily drugged to keep it from attacking intruders. People are knocked out with mild sedatives.
After accidentally getting poisoned, a man projectile vomits on himself and other people. Later, he also passes gas, indicating that the poison also caused diarrhea. There are several other jokes about urination, human excrement and a body cavity search. A boy picks his nose and then wipes his fingers on a wall.
Several boys film Kevin dancing in the bathroom and post the video online to embarrass him. Lewis constantly talks about the rules in his family—such as not being allowed to have pizza or take public transportation—but he breaks them anyway while helping his friends save their parents. (And they all agree not to tell his mom the truth.)
A girl says her mom doesn’t want her to have a phone because social media is how serial killers learn information about people. People break into multiple places. Teenagers drive boats and cars without proper licenses. Some boys steal costumes from a museum.
Margot agrees to steal a crown when her family is threatened. She is later mocked for her moral compass since she is the only member of her former crime syndicate that isn’t still involved in criminal activity. This also results in her getting framed for stealing the crown.
The Sleepover brims with violence and toilet humor that some parents will likely want to steer younger kiddos away from. (Not to mention multiple misuses of God’s name and Margot’s sordid past.) That said, Margot herself tries to steer her family away from bad behavior, too, repeatedly telling her kids that being a thief was wrong and urging them to see how dangerous it is even though she’s been in witness protection for the past 15 years.
But the story has plenty of good elements as well. Margot and Ron prove to be a good parenting team, reassuring each other of their love for one another, backing each other up when their kids misbehave, and perhaps most importantly, protecting each other and their kids from harm.
Clancy and Kevin learn how to be brave because of their mom’s past. They learn how to trust and rely on one another. And having a better understanding of where her mom came from, Clancy finally starts seeing eye to eye with Margot.
All in all, it’s a storytelling formula Disney has been using for decades when it comes to kids’ movies. So it’s no wonder Netflix has stolen that playbook and implemented it here, albeit perhaps with a few more rough edges than we’re used to seeing in Mouse House family fare.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.