Only on Netflix.
You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah is a 2023 coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by Sammi Cohen, written by Alison Peck, produced by Happy Madison Productions and Alloy Entertainment, and distributed by Netflix. The film is based off of Amanda Stern's 2005 novel of the same name. It stars Sunny Sandler and Samantha Lorraine.
"Welcome to being an adult and welcome to being Jewish. We don't get breaks." - Danny Friedman
Thirteen-year-old Stacy Friedman is preparing for the most important day of her life: her bat mitzvah. Along with her best friend, Lydia Rodriguez Katz, Stacy plans on having one of the coolest parties in school. But when a boy gets between Stacy and Lydia, things begin to fall apart between them, putting the future of their bat mitzvahs into question.
You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah is fun.
I'm Jewish, and there's not a lot of movies that truly have Judaism as the forefront of the story. Obviously, there are plenty of movies about the Holocaust, but that's more about the Holocaust than about Judaism and being Jewish. This movie touches on the fun, celebratory parts of Judaism. That's something I never see in film. And I really appreciate having a movie that does that.
I think this movie is a good execution of the teenage coming-of-age template. I will talk about this in the negatives, but this film has absolutely nothing original in it. However, I don't think that's necessarily a detriment to the movie as a whole. It's a well-done version of a usual formula. You've had chocolate chip cookies a million times. But, if they are made well, they still taste good. These taste good.
I'm also seventeen years old, so my bar mitzvah and my middle school experience is relatively fresh in my mind, and I think this movie does a really good job of exemplifying that in a realistic way. Most movies overdo the bullying or the cringe-inducing elements of middle school, but this movie doesn't. It plays plenty of middle school gags, but the gags are things that happen in real life. The movie uses teenage slang accurately. It feels natural and real. It was very strange. But I liked it.
The family in this movie also felt incredibly real. The main reason that that is the case is because Adam Sandler plays the dad and both of his daughters play the daughters, so their chemistry is off the charts. Idina Menzel is thrown in here as the mom, and you'd think she was a Sandler, because her chemistry with Adam and the two girls is also fantastic. It gave the movie a bit of a kick that I really, really liked.
This movie isn't really that good.
It's fun, yes, but it's completely, completely unoriginal. If you take away the bat mitzvah / Jewish element of this film, it's basically a mediocre version of Are You There,God? It's Me, Margaret. They literally have a voiceover in which the main talks to God. It's not even trying to hide it's unoriginality. And, I said this before, but this movie follows a very easy, very generic formula. It's not really anything special.
As I was writing this review, I asked a few of my friends (who are also Jewish) what they thought about it, and they brought up a good point that I hadn't thought about. Although this touches on the fun, cultural celebrations that Jewish people have, it isn't the best representation of Jews. It was directed by a Jew and Adam Sandler produced it, so this movie was obviously produced by a bunch of Jews, but it portrays the main character as only caring about her bat mitzvah party, not really caring about the Jewish aspect of her bat mitzvah. After some thought, I do agree with that. I think that it's important to portray a more nuanced version of that in which some of the teenage characters actually care about the importance of being Jewish. I also think that would've made for a more interesting movie.
Piggybacking off of that, the main character in general is really pretentious and insufferable. At the beginning of the movie, she's likable, but as you get deeper into the movie, she becomes mean to everyone around her. She starts doing horrible things to her best friend and won't admit that what she's doing is wrong and so she alienates everyone around her, but you're still expected to root for her because she's the main character. It makes the movie less fun. I was not a fan of her.
Final Thoughts and Score
You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah is a fun coming-of-age dramedy that displays a full range of talent across the Sandler family, while maybe not being the most original or inventive film this year.
I will go Savory here. Age range is 7+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
"You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah"
Fun Factor: 7/10
Directed by Sammi Cohen
Rated PG-13 for mild language, suggestive material, thematic elements
Released on August 25, 2023
1 hour and 43 minutes
Sunny Sandler as Stacy Friedman
Samantha Lorraine as Lydia Rodriguez Katz
Adam Sandler as Danny Friedman
Idina Menzel as Bree Friedman
Sadie Sandler as Ronnie Friedman
Jackie Sandler as Gabi Rodriguez Katz
Dylan Hoffman as Andy Goldfarb
Sarah Sherman as Rabbi Rebecca
Dan Bulla as Cantor Jerry
Ido Mosseri as DJ Schmuley
Jackie Hoffman as Irene
Luis Guzmán as Eli Katz
Dean Scott Vazquez as Mateo
Miya Cech as Kym Chang Cohen
Ivory Baker as Megan Levy
Dylan Chloe Dash as Tara
Millie Thorpe as Nikki
Zaara Kuttemperoor as Zaara