You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah
Every Sandler shines in coming-of-age comedy.
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I’ve always been a big fan of Adam Sandler’s even if I’m not always hot on all of his projects … especially comedic efforts from this millennium. I’ve also always been cooler on appearances from his wife (Jackie) and daughters (Sadie and Sunny) in his flicks. I understand Sandler keeps his friends and family close while working (Hell, he keeps a lot of ‘em employed. Rob Schneider thanks you, sir.) and a Happy Madison set often seems to resemble a reunion or vacation. I’m happy to report that “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” (streaming on Netflix beginning Friday, Aug. 25), which marks Sunny’s starring debut, is a pleasant surprise wherein each of the Sandlers has a moment to shine.
Sunny stars as Stacey Friedman, a 13-year-old girl on the precipice of having her bat mitzvah. Stacey’s best friend Lydia Rodriguez Katz (Samantha Lorraine – a young actress I was unfamiliar with, but impressed by) is also getting hyped for her own bat mitzvah. These young ladies are inseparable until dunderheaded jock Andy Goldfarb (Dylan Hoffman) begins dating Lydia despite Stacey having a crush on him.
Stacey begins acting out much to the amusement of her horror movie-obsessed older sister Ronnie (Sadie) and annoyance of her parents Danny (Sandler) and Bree (the “Wicked”-ly talented Adele Dazeem … ahem … Idina Menzel). Stacey’s behavior becomes so bad that Rabbi Rebecca (“Saturday Night Live” alum Sarah Sherman) threatens to cancel her bat mitzvah.
The cast is rounded out by the likes of Jackie as Lydia’s mother Gabi (doing career-best work), aces character actor Luis Guzmán as Lydia’s father Eli, Dean Scott Vazquez (late of “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts”) as Matteo, a kindhearted exchange student who has the hots for Stacey, Sandler’s frequent musical co-conspirator Dan Bulla as Cantor Jerry and Ido Mosseri as the ridiculously douche-y DJ Schmuley.
“You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” is directed by Sammi Cohen (the 2022 Hulu original movie “Crush”) and scripted by Alison Peck (she had a hand in penning the 2019 “UglyDolls” animated film) who adapts Fiona Rosenbloom’s book of the same name (with an exclamation point added for extra emphasis). The picture feels like the cruder, goofier and modernized flip side to this year’s Judy Blume adaptation “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.” (humorously enough, one of Sandler and Menzel’s “Uncut Gems” directors Bennie Safdie played the Dad there). “YASNItMBM” doesn’t hit the heights of “Margaret” (one of 2023’s best films), but the disparity in quality is closer than you might initially assume. Both heroines talk to God in voiceover and menstruation factors in prominently. They’d honestly make a winning double bill for audiences of all ages.
Sandler’s likely gonna draw lots of folks to “YASNItMBM” and he’s very funny and on brand (his fashion sense is both celebrated and mocked) in a supporting role, but Sunny’s reason enough to stick around. This young lady drums up laughs on her own and is talented enough to make Stacey likable despite her unlikable actions. She has a bright future in front of the camera if she wants one.