The new Sandler Family comedy, You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah, is now streaming, but should you give it a watch?
Adapted from the 2007 Fiona Rosenbloom novel of the same name, You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is the coming-of-age story of Stacy Friedman, a young Jewish middle schooler with her sights clearly set on her upcoming Bat Mitzvah – one she hopes to share with her longtime best friend Lydia and her crush, the shaggy-haired, soccer-playing heartthrob Andy Goldfarb. But as her special day gets closer and closer, Stacy’s life starts to unravel and threatens to ruin the event.
While the film has a solid tandem on the creative side with director Sammi Cohen (Hulu’s Crush) & writer Alison Peck (Netflix’s Work It), the headline of this production belongs to Adam Sandler as he co-stars in the film alongside his daughters Sunny & Sadie (Stacy and Ronnie in the film respectively) and his wife & frequent collaborator Jackie Sandler (Gabi Rodriguez Katz). The film is also co-produced by Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, which has been a staple at Netflix for almost the entirety of their existence as a film studio.
Bat Mitzvah marks the 2nd of 3 Adam Sandler Netflix performances this year after Murder Mystery 2 was released back in March, and the animated film Leo due to arrive in November. Happy Madison also produced the action comedy The Out-Laws earlier this summer.
Outside of the Sandler family, the cast is rounded out by Sandler’s movie wife Idina Menzel (Uncut Gems), Samantha Lorraine (The Walking Dead: World Beyond), Dylan Hoffman, Luis Guzman (Wednesday, Punch-Drunk Love), SNL’s Sarah Sherman, Ido Mosseri (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan), and Jackie Hoffman (Shiva Baby, Glass Onion, Only Murders in the Building).
While the story may be hyper-focused on many aspects of Judaism including, of course, the anxiety-fueled experience of preparing for a Bat Mitzvah, the film does endear itself to a broader audience with its relatable characters simply trying to manage their daily tween/young teen lives as they attempt to survive the awkward trudge towards adulthood in the age of social media.
Much like proms or graduations in many high school comedies, the rite of passage event of the Bat Mitzvah keeps the film from meandering too far off the tracks and gives its audience something to cling to as a timeline pressure point for its characters. It also allows many different levels of a young adult’s life to be included, such as family, teachers, friends, & childhood crushes.
Director Sammi Cohen explained the film’s mass appeal in a recent article for Netflix’s TUDUM:
“It has something for everyone. As much as kids will see themselves in this, adults will too. [The movie] gives us insight to this very Jewish coming-of-age experience but speaks to broader themes about what it means to be a kid today. Most of the time it’s a fun, exhilarating ride, but sometimes your stomach drops and you think the world will end. But hey, that’s being 13.”
With accessible themes, characters, & young adult scenarios, You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah utilizes its Sandler name recognition to bring a unique cultural event not truly explored in film to a larger audience while simultaneously exploring an age level we don’t see too often, especially outside of streaming TV, without something supernatural or incredible attached to it. The film discusses periods, shaving, wearing heels for the first time, popularity dynamics, and navigating female friendships in the face of budding romances all without the aid of a looming threat like Stranger Things or metaphorical transformations like Turning Red. The movie exists more as a less serious, modernized second half of a double feature with a film like the critically praised book adaptation Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret from earlier this year.
Bat Mitzvah also serves as quite a showcase for the Sandler sisters who may have been on screen in their father’s films since they were preschoolers, but mostly in small roles with very little dialogue. As the protagonist Stacy Friedman, Sunny Sandler gives a remarkably consistent performance with genuine chops in delivery & range; while Sadie Sandler punches up every scene she’s in with her strong comedic timing, biting wit, & necessary presence when asked to be more big sister than snarky cut-up. While they do benefit from having scenes with their comfortable familial surroundings, I believe they both did plenty to show they can break out of the “Sandler Films Only” mold in which they have been casted.
While not fully themed out and slightly scatterbrained (much like DJ Schmuley), the soundtrack is also a stand out in the film. I believe it’s against the law to have a Netflix teen-focused film without an Olivia Rodrigo song, so of course, there is one of those. The dance party needle drops are relentless with bangers from Icona Pop, Dua Lipa, Santigold, Selena Gomez, & more. You also get the occasional modern rock hit from the likes of Haim, Grouplove, & Weezer and the slow dance classic “Easy” by Commodores to satiate the 40+ crowd. You can check out the full list here to prep your own personal Bar or Bat Mitzvah experience.
Overall, You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is a light, enjoyable journey through the perils of modern middle school drama and the subtle lessons that bring us all into young adulthood. Regardless of religion or cultural affiliation, the film does enough to focus on the relatable aspects of learning your place in the world, how to treat others, and who you want to become. While not every joke lands nor every character blooms, Bat Mitzvah does the Sandler name proud with just enough humor, charm, and surprisingly effective performances from a talented young cast. The Sandler Sister breakout is for real.
Watch You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah If You Like
- Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret
- Edge of Seventeen
- The Half of It
MVP of You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah
The Sandler Sisters!
As previously mentioned, Sunny & Sadie Sandler have been popping up in their father’s films for most of their lives, but rarely do they get to show off their talents. Bat Mitzvah allows them to truly stretch their acting range & abilities and they clearly accept the challenge. As Stacy, Sunny carries the film on her back with a genuine, understated, and believable performance that brings us into her character’s anxious & ever-evolving world. Meanwhile, Sadie gets a ton of mileage out of the several laugh lines she receives as the snappy yet sage older sister Ronnie. I could absolutely see a career in teen comedy or indie dramedy for both of them in the near future.
PLAY, PAUSE, OR STOP?
Not your typical Happy Madison Production, Bat Mitzvah brings a relatable base to a uniquely charged cultural experience. Credible performances, just enough zing, and Sandler Family chemistry make this a worthy addition to the coming-of-age genre.