Although, to some, this may sound like the title to a classier version of a porno movie, The Myth of the American Sleepover is one of the first classic coming of age stories to hit theaters in quite some time. Detailing the intertwining lives of a group of high school students on the last weekend of the summer, David Robert Mitchell's debut feature film exposes the vulnerability and confusion of youth.
Opening at the mecca of normalcy and Americana--a public pool in suburban Detroit--we are introduced to Maggie (Claire Sloma), a gamine-coiffed, facially pierced rogue who feels like she didn't sow enough oats over the summer. As she mentions this to her friend, she makes eye contact with the pool boy. We all know where this is going.
Our next victim of a boring and sexless summer is Rob (Marlon Morton), a boy who becomes quickly obsessed with a girl he sees shopping in the supermarket. From the moment he sees her leave, his only quest is to find her again. From there, the film transitions to Claudia's (Amanda Bauer) unfortunate invitation to the sleepover at Janelle Ramsey's (Shayla Curran) house. New in town and with her boyfriend, Andy (Drew Machak), as her only confidante, Claudia decides it would be a good idea to go.
Our other misguided and floundering protagonist is Scott (Brett Jacobsen), who has returned from college in Chicago--possibly on a permanent basis. When he goes to pick up his sister, Jen (Mary Wardell), from a school activity, he encounters an old picture of him talking to the Abbey twins (Nikita and Jade Ramsey), both of whom were in drama with him. He steals the picture from its display case and suddenly has a consuming desire to find the twins again. When he asks his sister what happened to them, she says they're at an orientation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Pulled by the nostalgia of the photo, he goes to find them.
Meanwhile, Maggie and her friend have found mischief of their own to get into on the way to the sleepover at Janelle's when they stop by a party at an older high school guy's house. It is there that Maggie sees her pool boy again. Surprisingly, he isn't an asshole and the two get to talking about the myth surrounding the allure of growing up. Philosophizing about how only when we lose our innocence do we realize how foolish it was to catalyze the process of getting older, he urges Maggie not to rush into anything until she is ready.
The Myth of the American Sleepover is not a climactic movie, because it mirrors the very nature of being in high school: Slow, constantly waiting for something to happen, and always somehow left disappointed. Fundamentally, the pacing and palpable feelings of ennui are what makes Mitchell's (based on a true) story so real.