You have to give props to Adam Sandler because he is a very good family man. When he wants to spend time with his wife and kids, he doesn’t just take them on vacation, he makes movies with them. And sometimes both at the same time. He’s outdone himself with his latest effort for Netflix, Sammi Cohen’s So you’re not invited to my Bat Mitzvah, based on Fiona Rosenbloom’s 2005 YA novel and starring his daughter Sunny Sandler, along with her older sister Sadie Sandler, her mother Jackie Sandler, and her father Adam in supporting roles. It seems less like a movie than a family project.
Fortunately, the rampant nepotism on display has resulted in a sweet, funny film aimed at a younger audience, which will relate best to the main character’s personal trials as she prepares for the film’s main event. (And as they say, you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the film, but it certainly can’t hurt.)
So you’re not invited to my Bat Mitzvah
It comes down to
A nice family affair.
The youngest of the Sandler offspring plays Stacy, who teams up with BFF Lydia (Samantha Lorraine) to prepare for the day they come of age under Jewish law. Of course, she’s technically a woman already; as she irritably tells her dad Danny (Adam Sandler) when he suggests a childish activity, “I’ve been on my period for seven months now!”
“That’s a long period, honey!” her father replies in the first of far too many lame jokes on the subject, with the film rivaling recent ones Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret in his frequent references to menstruation. Another similarity is that Stacy, like the young girl in the Judy Blume adaptation, also sends messages to God.
Stacy is actually less preoccupied with her upcoming bat mitzvah than with her serious crush on the cutest boy in her Hebrew school, Josh (Dylan Hoffman, perfect for the part), with whom her closest contact was when he accidentally hit her with a soccer ball. hit the head. ball. Things go from bad to worse when she impulsively decides to respond to a challenge and jumps into a lake in front of him and their classmates, only to be humiliated when her bloody tampon surfaces. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you). And then, the horrorJosh eventually dates Lydia, driving a seemingly irreparable wedge between the two friends and Stacy delivering the titular edict.
The ensuing complications play out more or less as you’d expect, with Stacy’s doting parents Bree (Idina Menzel, who previously played Sandler’s wife in the very different Uncut gems, also takes on the role here, with his real-life husband Jackie playing Lydia’s mother) and Danny watching helplessly. In the end, Stacy uses her teenage wiles, including volunteering at the retirement home where Josh’s grandmother lives and “accidentally” sending him some provocative photos, to lure him away from Lydia – only to get into serious trouble when the two are caught making out in the bimah of the temple. (If you don’t know what that is, like I said, being Jewish helps).
Usually clad in Hawaiian shirts and baggy shorts, Patriarch Sandler is only a minor presence in the film, generously ceding the lion’s share of screen time to his daughter, who rises to the occasion with an attractively funny lead. Brother Sadie, as Stacy’s biting older sister Ronnie, is funny too, while Lorraine provides solid support as Stacy’s best friend. SNL‘s Sarah Sherman steals every scene she stars in as a hipster rabbi uttering such words of wisdom as “That’s the way the hamantaschen crumble,” and it’s worth the price of a streaming subscription to support player Jackie Hoffman heard exclaim, “Shayna punim!”
As you might have guessed, the movie leans toward its Jewishness in a refreshing way in a big way, without bothering to explain every reference to “goy” viewers. (Of course, Sandler has never been shy about showcasing his heritage in comedic fashion, having scored one of his greatest successes with “The Chanukah Song”.)
As with many Sandler comedies (although this one is rather atypical), So you’re not invited to my bat Mitzvah contains more than a few stupid, cringe-inducing jokes. But thanks to its well-observed, funny depiction of teenage girls’ angst and a genuine sweetness at its core, it proves to be winning through and through. And if you don’t get everything clamped at the heartwarming end, you’ve probably never had a best friend.
Production: Alloy Entertainment, Happy Madison Productions, Netflix
Cast: Idina Menzel, Jackie Sandler, Adam Sandler, Sadie Sandler, Sunny Sandler, Samantha Lorraine, Dylan Hoffman, Sarah Sherman, Dan Bulla, Ido Mosseri, Jackie Hoffman, Zaara Kuttermeroor, Luis Guzman
Directed by: Sammy Cohen
Screenwriter: Alison Peck
Producers: Adam Sandler, Tim Herlihy, Leslie Morgenstein, Elysa Koplovitz
executive producers; Judi Maull, Kevin Grady, Barry Bernardi, Greg Denny
Director of Photography: Ben Hardwicke
Production Designer: Aleksandra Marinkovich
Editor: Jamie Keeney, Brian Robinson
Costume Designer: Jordy Scheinberg
Composers: Este Haim, Amanda Yamate
Casting: Melissa DeLizia
Rated PG-13, 1 hour and 43 minutes