You're So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah
Well, full admission, I am an Adam Sandler fan. Much like how I love Govinda’s nonsensical comedies back home, I love what Sandler does in a land far, far away (for the most part). Just out of habit, decided to chance upon ‘You’re So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzwah’ on Netflix, and while it may not have been a conventional Sandler romp, it’s still watchable for being a cute, girly, coming of age film, in which Adam takes a backseat to let his daughters shine. Well, it’s pretty much the entire Sandler family having a great time on sets. And we as viewers, are richer for it. It is NOT like other Sandler comedies (though this one has a few funny moments too). How good is it though? Read on to find out!
Story & Screenplay
Based on the 2005 young adult novel of the same name, YSNITMBM tells the story of Stacy Friedman (a stunning Sunny Sandler) who is super excited for her Bat Mitzwah – a coming of age party for women in Jewish culture. In fact, the Jewish culture is a major part of this film, and unabashedly so. It’s a refreshing change. Anyhow, Stacy and her best friend Lydia (Samantha Lorraine) plan each other’s Bat Mitzwah’s, only to have a falling out over (mostly) a boy. Even though it’s painfully predictable how the script pans out, it’s still rewarding to watch how the two girls navigate these issues and manage to keep their friendship alive.
The film touches upon a few usual beats of high school dramas- first crushes, mean girls, heartbreaks, periods, etc. But does so in a very respectable way. Every moment feels organic and the characters feel relatable. It could almost be nostalgic for a few of you.
Screenwriter Alison Peck does a good job in managing to invest us in the movie despite the lead protagonist being somewhat unlikeable. You still want to see how it all plays out, and that’s saying something. The other characters (and actors) being so charming, help matters too.
Direction and Other Technical Aspects
Sammi Cohen, directing only her second film, does a good job in delivering us a frothy teen drama, albeit it being a tad too predictable. Her handling of actors particularly stands out, as the likes of Adam Sandler, Jackie Sandler, Luis Guzman, etc take a back seat to let the teenagers take centre stage. That couldn’t have been an easy road to take, but she did. She avoided the lure of having more established actors get more screen time.
The editing is crisp and keeps the movie engaging at all times. The background score, and particularly the use of classic rock ballads, is pitch perfect and suits the film well. Camera work is particularly good for a movie of this genre- almost every shot looks gorgeous.
Sunny Sandler steals the show as Stacy. Adam Sandler’s younger daughter has clearly taken her dad’s genes of acting, while taking some of her mom’s genes of great looks. It was kinda funny to see her and Jackie Sandler in the same scene pretending to not be mother and daughter. They’re not fooling anyone- the resemblance is blatant.
Samantha Lorraine as her BFF matches Sunny beat to beat, as the two teen girls show how talented they are and now much potential they possess. Sandler’s elder daughter Sadie doesn’t have too many scenes to create an impact, although she’s likeable. Idina Menzel as Stacy’s mom does a fairly good job of giving her take to the stereotypical role of a overbearing mother. Adam Sandler is refreshingly almost non existent in the movie, and when he shows up, he’s a delight. Same goes for Jackie Sandler and Luis Guzman too. The rest of the cast do an okay job too, although some secondary characters have actors hamming it up like anything.
If you are in the mood for some harmless, frothy, teen drama, then YSNITMBM is for you! Just don’t expect anything path breaking, and you will have a good time. Watch out for Sunny Sandler – she’s good. Do NOT watch this if you’re a fan of Adam Sandler’s slapstick comedies, though. Now streaming on Netflix.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.