I’m going to let you in on a little secret, as a 41 year old man I have very little idea what goes on in the mind of a 13 year old girl. That being said, I think I’m a little less in the dark after taking in the Adam Sandler produced and Sandler-brood starring You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah. The film, the latest in Sandler’s production deal with Netflix brings Sandler’s usual practices a little closer to home, bringing in his immediate family instead of his circle of friends. Usually this ends in disaster, after all at least his friends are professional actors, BUT….apparently so is his family and I would argue, dramatically at least, more professional then the rest.
You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah, directed by Sammi Cohen, follows Stacey Friedman (Sunny Sandler) through, what I imagine are, the usual tumultuous highs and lows of the transition to womanhood for a young Jewish girl. Sunny and her best friend Lydia have already planned their perfect lives out together which includes matching loft’s in NYC (in Taylor Swift’s apartment no less) and class dreamboat Andy Goldfarb on Stacey’s arm. As the plans of a 13 year old usually go, it all blows up when Lydia and Andy kiss at a party and start dating. Suffering from the ultimate betrayal (at that age) Stacey and Lydia go from best friends to worst enemies with Stacey taking her revenge too far at times. All the while Stacey is preparing for that Bat Mitzvah that she things will change her life and regularly running head first into her anxious but loving father Danny (Adam Sandler) and caring but “been through it” mom Bree (Idina Menzel). It really feels like we haven’t had good movies like this for a while, that could be because it hasn’t been my demo for close to 30 years, but I think we’re seeing a bit of a resurgence in the coming of age tale.
Screw anyone that throws around the term “nepo-baby” (except for me right there…I was making a point). Sunny Sandler kills it, bringing a realness to the role that few others could have. Even at her worst you can understand the feelings behind her actions and her ability to draw you in is astounding at such a young age. It honestly makes me mad that this stunning debut is going to be marred by that term, even though most are saying things like “Surprise, she’s not that, she’s actually good!”. I feel like people forget all to often just how talented Adam Sandler is, a talent that he obviously passed down to now just Sunny but also Sadie Sandler who nails it in her, admittedly not a stretch, role of Ronnie, Stacey’s sister. Rounding out the Sandler family reunion is Adam’s wife Jackie, who oddly enough doesn’t play his wife but rather the mother of Stacey’s frenemy Lydia. I can’t imagine how that conversation went “Honey, we’re going to do a family movie! But here’s the thing, you’re not in the family. I’m going to be married to Idinia Menzel and you are going to be our kids friend’s mom”… Either he spent weeks on the couch after that or he is the most persuasive man on the planet.
While there are no real surprises throughout You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah hits every point it intends to both as a result of a solid script, good direction and wonderful performances. Having been a fan of Adam Sandler since the early 90s I absolutely love watching his career progression. He’s seemed to find his niche at every phase of life, and while the Billy Madison Sandler will always be my favorite this current phase with him as the slightly overwhelmed but very loving father is coming in at a close second. I can’t put into words how good it is to have a solid, emotional, family film that is entertaining as it is educational…we just don’t have enough of that.
You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is available now on Netflix!