I Am So Not Inviting You to My Bat Mitzvah is a sweet, funny coming-of-age story

Photo courtesy of Netflix
SANDLER-RAMA: (Left to right) Idina Menzel, Samantha Lorraine, Adam Sandler, Sunny Sandler, and Sadie Sandler (Adam Sandler’s real-life daughters), star in the coming-of-age comedy You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, streaming on Netflix.

Sammi Cohen directs this coming-of-age comedy about besties Stacy Friedman (Sunny Sandler) and Lydia Rodriguez Katz (Samantha Lorraine), who have a falling out over a boy right before their upcoming bat mitzvahs, unraveling their friendship and threatening their parties. (103 min.) 

Glen: This is a true family affair. Adam Sandler is starring alongside his real-life daughters Sunny and Sadie, and his wife, Jackie Sandler. There’s an easy chemistry there. And what a warm, funny, uplifting story. I couldn’t help but be brought back to the trials and travails of the tween year, the cusp of teenagerhood, when your body is changing, and every emotion seems amplified to the nth degree. Stacy and Lydia have been friends since they were wee ones, and they know everything about each other. Nobody can cut you as deep as a friend, which puts the girls in the perfect position to take their feud from mean to downright nasty and cruel. What’s most confounding—but also on-point for a misguided early crush—is the boy in question, Andy Goldfarb (Dylan Hoffman), who isn’t worthy of either of these two young ladies. Laughs abound as they navigate one awkward moment after another.

Anna: The Sandler family working together could go two very different ways, but luckily they seem to genuinely enjoy being on set together. No tween can roll her eyes more sincerely than at her own parents! Both Sunny and Samantha are great here, and while the storyline focuses on the younger sister, her older counterpart has great deadpan delivery that works well to break up the tween drama moments. The film absolutely took me back to a time in life when every problem was the worst thing that ever happened, and even a slight betrayal felt monumental. I can’t get over how sweet and charming and downright funny this film is. What a great reminder of Adam Sandler’s true talent and knack for creating great ensemble dynamics. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you’d be hard pressed not to fall for his sweet family. This should be in theaters!

Glen: I agree. Buying a full-price ticket would have been money well spent, but I’m happy to have a first-run film of this caliber included in our Netflix subscription. Part of what made the film so rich was its bevy of supporting characters. My favorite was Rabbi Rebecca (a hilarious Sarah Sherman), a deeply dorky but incredibly sincere, upbeat, and frank spiritual guide to these young people. The regular bat mitzvah go-to entertainer is DJ Schmuley (Ido Mosseri), who’s also a great source of comedy. And let’s not forget Luis Guzmán as Eli Katz, Lydia’s dad who’s divorcing Lydia’s mom, Gabi (played by Adam’s real-life wife, Jackie). I was also charmed by exchange student Mateo (Dean Scott Vazquez), a real kid-gentleman, unlike showoff Andy Goldfarb. I would 100 percent watch this film again, and if you have kids around 12 to 15, watch it with them. It’s got lessons and laughs to impart.

Anna: This is definitely a film I’ll be recommending to parents with kids anywhere around that age, and you’re right, the characters both in and around the Friedman family take this film to the next level. There’re the usual school cliques—the “cool” (aka mean) girls, the dorky but lovable crew, and the jocks, and both Stacy and Lydia are just trying to figure out where they fit in now that they’re “adults.” It’s not overly saccharine, and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud bits that deal with all things tween, or even just being in the orbit of one. It truly is such a relatable, sweet, funny film. I’m a fan of Sandler, but even if you aren’t, there are plenty of people in this cast to love. I will definitely watch this one again!

New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles listings. Comment at [email protected].

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