I vividly remember when the Sleepless trailer came out. Why? Because I recall thinking, “are they releasing that to theaters?” I also remember thinking, “boy, that’s a lot of Las Vegas crammed into a single trailer.” So obviously, being obsessive about film settings I was already all in on Sleepless. Even though it felt like a Netflix film or something, I was a bit thrilled that it was getting a wide release. Like 21 Bridges, I just enjoy these types of small thrillers. So the more they can come out and do reasonably well, the more likely another one will come down the pike. Alas, this didn’t do all that well, but at least it (allegedly) existed. And I gotta say, this easily cleared that standard. I can confirm, Sleepless is a film that exists. Mission accomplished.
To recap, Jamie Foxx is a real crooked cop. He’s stealing drugs. He’s killing people. He’s a real bad dude, for sure. Except, wait, he’s also tracking all the drug dealers in Las Vegas in his empty apartment? I’m intrigued. When it turns out that the drugs he stole were actually destined for the biggest and most ruthless drug dealer in the city he’s a little concerned. He’s even more concerned when his son is kidnapped and held for ransom. Gathering up all the drugs, he attempts to deliver it back to the bad guys. Kind of like, “whoopsies” and hope things go OK. But they don’t. That’s because Internal Affairs is tracking him and stole back the drugs. Double whoopsies. Jamie Foxx is able to trick the drug dealers for a little bit, but soon realizes that one of the IA agents is the real corrupt cop. Foxx is able to escape with his son and, after being cornered by the drug dealers, ends up killing them in a bloody shootout (duh). With a last gasp effort he is able to alert the clean IA agent of the dastardly deeds of her partner. The day is saved, the good guys survive, and Vegas is still… Sleepless.
I didn’t mind this film in a throwaway thriller kind of way. Which I think puts it a peg above a normal BMT film. There are certainly things to critique. Like large portions of the plot are driven forwards by coincidence and incompetence on the part of Foxx. The film could have ended any number of times if he just didn’t do something real boneheaded. You could maybe chalk it up to him ultimately wanting to catch/kill the real insane baddie, but… uh… then he’s a pretty awful dad. The ultimate bad dad cop dad. But beyond that it has some fun stuff going on and doesn’t waste time.
Hot Take Clam Bake up in here. Jamie Foxx 100% percent does not get his family back. Sure he and his ex-wife are having a moment. He just brought down the biggest drug lord in Vegas, saved their son, all while looking dope. Some feelings are boiling back to the surface. Maybe the next day Jamie Foxx drops by and they have a pleasant brunch as a family. But Gabrielle Union’s girlfriends aren’t gonna let that fly. He was undercover for years? What kind of husband and father does that? Was he even thinking of the effect that might have on them? He pretty much ruined his son’s life and almost got him killed. Guess who didn’t do that? Dave. Dave’s been the rock of the family. Dave did everything right. Sure, maybe Dave’s job as an accountant isn’t flashy, but he’s a pretty damn good accountant, ayight. And so a couple weeks later Jamie Foxx is back on the job, feeling like supercop and sniffing around the latest homicide. By the time he looks up Gabrielle Union is posting pics on Insta from Hawaii with Dave. Sorry, bro. You snooze, you lose. Hot Take Temperature: Teriyaki.
‘Ello everyone! Sleepless? Not if you watch this movie you aren’t! Haha, got you. The title just walks right into that one. Let’s go!
- The film’s biggest crime is that it is rote. Which is the opposite of the original. So it is weird that they took all the interesting ambiguity out of the French film and instead thought “but what if we like … told people what was actually happening explicitly. Then could we set up for a bad sequel idea that will never happen?”
- Yeah, they set up for a sequel in which the big bad drug dealer dad comes back to Vegas and guess whaaaaaaaat? He’s got the DEA on the payroll. I bet that is going to cause some issues for our boy Foxx … if the sequel ever happened that is. Instead we have a bizarre happy ending in which (presumably) the nice new fiance of Foxx’s ex is dumped unceremoniously because Foxx is now out of deep cover. Horrible.
- Foxx is good in it, but both Mulroney and McNairy seem seriously miscast. Mulroney doesn’t seem sleazy (you should see the French version, sleaze up the wazoo on that guy) and McNairy doesn’t seem threatening.
- I might as well just go into why the original is so good. In the original there is no hint that maybe the main character is undercover. Throughout the film it is only mentioned once, when the main character off hand mentions it to the female internal affairs office, but at the time it does actually seem like he might just be lying to get her off his back for a second. In the end he helps her, but that might be just to protect his family. I do ultimately think that he was undercover, but it isn’t wild to think that he wasn’t, that was a lie, and in the end you are in fact watching a bad person get trapped and then do anything to save his family (to the point of potentially getting killed). The film ends with him going to the hospital, and it is unknown whether he survives. It is frenetic and intense and throughout, again, you don’t know whether this person is just the best of a group of bad people or an undercover police officer trying to resolve a complicated situation.
- This film throws that directly into the trash and decided to make Taken.
- An incredibly sweaty Setting as a Character (Where?) for Vegas, which honestly is a bit too shiny for what the original was going for, a decrepit Atlantic City would have made more sense, but whatever. Borderline MacGuffin (Why?) for the bad of drugs, but I’ve kind of given up on the idea that a MacGuffin needs to be mysterious, so I think this counts. And horrible Worst Twist (How?) candidate for the sequel tease concerning corrupt DEA agents talking to drug dealers. I think this is closest to BMT, it is an amusing and entertaining watch, but cheesy and dumb at the same time, I liked watching it, but it is definitely a bad film.
Read about the sequel Sleepless 2: Good Night’s Rest in the Quiz. Cheerios,