Looking at reviews and comments online recently, it seems that some people were put off after they found out that You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah, the latest instalment from Happy Madison studio, isn't exactly an Adam Sandler movie. It's actually an entire Adam Sandler family movie. In addition to the comedian, his wife Jackie and daughters Sadie and Sunny are also in this.
You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is not the typical goofy Adam Sandler kind of movie we are familiar with. Now, the man actually takes a back seat this time and lets his daughter Sunny take the lead role in this pre-teen romcom coming-of-age story. Surprisingly, this movie turned out to be charming and has a lot of chuckle-worthy moments. However, it takes a long time to turn things around, but once it does, it becomes a sweet observation of the complicated world of teenagers becoming adults.
The premise tells the story of Stacy Friedman (Sunny Sandler), a Jewish teenager who's about to celebrate her upcoming Bat Mitzvah and transition into womanhood. She looks forward to celebrating the event with her family and friends, one of whom is her best friend Lydia (Samantha Lorraine). However, things take a turn when Stacy's crush at school, Andy (Dylan Hoffman), comes between her and Lydia. The two best friends find themselves ripped apart as a result of different perspectives. So Stacy has to figure out how to save her Bat Mitzvah before it unravels.
This movie immerses us in Jewish culture, especially the Bat Mitzvah tradition for kids and the pressure they face. It's been some time since I've seen a movie that encapsulates how teenagers behave and respond to conflict. Stacy and Lydia start out as best buddies, but once the handsome Andy comes into the picture, they turn into rivals. They go behind each other's backs and act immature even though they still have some degree of respect and love for each other, and I enjoyed seeing their relationship play out.
I liked the chemistry between both young actresses, and how they express their emotions towards one another. There's a rawness to some of their expressions that I think are relatable, but also heartbreaking. And because both characters were developed to be charismatic and likeable, we root for reconciliation to end this painful awkwardness. Besides these two girls, the behaviour of other teens in this movie is accurate.
The way they gossip and spread rumours in school, how they play games with each other and say weird lines of dialogue are just a few things this movie does to replicate the awkward transition period. It also explores how teens change identities in order to please others, whether it involves Stacy arguing with her parents' traditions or trying to act cool for her crush.
She tries to pretend to be something she's not and has to learn to accept who she is, which is a good message to push. Adam Sandler is very much in the background in this movie. He lets his daughter take the spotlight and what he does here is just be a funny and sarcastic dad. He's so down-to-earth in this that I couldn't help believing that this could be a real-life representation of him -- just kicking back and spending time with his family on set, coming up with lines as he goes along that are creative and funny.
Sunny Sandler and Samantha Lorraine inYou Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah. (Photos: © NETFLIX)
While the majority of this movie can be very predictable and is not much different from most teen flicks, it's still nice to see one with a positive message behind it.
So if you want something light with some laughs or want to see something that has a unique cultural perspective behind it, You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is a nice choice for a family movie night.
- You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah
- Starring Sunny Sandler, Samantha Lorraine, Adam Sandler
- Directed by Sammi Cohen
- Now streaming on Netflix