EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, films like You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah might not exist.
In the age of the nepotism baby boom, Adam Sandler producing a film starring his two daughters comes as no surprise. But, much like his oversized t-shirts and baggy shorts, his new Netflix comedy You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, comes across as authentic rather than forced. The real life family ties ground this gen-z comedy into a relatable, coming-of-age classic and could turn the Sandler sisters into full-fledged stars.
Based on the 2005 novel of the same name by Fiona Rosenbloom, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah explores the melodramas of middle school through a life changing cultural event— Stacy Friedman’s (Sunny Sandler) Bat Mitzvah. She’s been waiting for this day her entire life and has planned out a fabulous party with the help of her best friend, Lydia (Samantha Lorraine). Her parents (Adam Sandler and Idina Menzel) won’t let her hire Dua Lipa or Olivia Rodrigo, but at least her crush, Andy Goldfarb, will be there. Until, he and Lydia start dating and wedge the two friends apart right before their parties.
Speaking from experience, being a girl in middle school is rough. Everything seems like the worst thing that ever has or ever will happen. Those early teen years are so ripe with angst, they can easily start to feel like a parody, that could be why so many films prefer to explore the high school years. Many pre-teen films of the aughts took the “losers vs. mean girls” route like in 2004’s Sleepover or 2008’s The Clique. But, as Stacy says, she’s not popular or a loser. Stacy Friedman is average. She goes to school, lovingly fights with her older sister Ronnie, played by Sunny Sandler’s real-life older sister Sadie Sandler, and has a crush on a boy. Hollywood didn’t seem to take junior high seriously until Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade (2018). While You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah doesn’t quite have that same level of insight or nuance, it’s still effective in portraying the hardships and joys of growing up.
One of those joys being parties. As the film states early on, almost every culture has a coming-of-age party. Based on the title, it’s a safe assumption that Jewish culture and faith plays a large role in the film and the Friedman family. It was heartwarming to see Stacy understand the importance of her Bat Mitzvah beyond just having a sick party. The film did a particularly good job of explaining the significance and traditions for non-Jewish people (like myself.) This was thanks to a standout performance from SNL cast member Sarah Sherman as Rabbi Rebecca. Sherman perfectly embodied the overeager religious figure trying a bit too hard to reach the younger generation.
In Rabbi Rebecca’s defense, understanding Gen Z is difficult. The kids doing Tik Tok dances is harmless, but at one point one of the “cool girls” says “My mom said I have to wait a year to get Botox” but she can get filler now. It’s hard to tell if that’s an accurate representation of the current pressures of 13-year-olds, or if it’s a critique of how fast it seems like this generation is growing up. When Stacy wears a pair of high heels, her mom says “Take those off, you look like a stripper!”
“You can’t say that,” Stacy replies.
“Yeah mom, you’re going to get canceled,” Her sister, Ronnie, chimes in.
Ronnie spends most of the film watching horror movies on her phone with her best friend Zara. They take a sip and cringe when they are offered alcohol at a Bat Mitzvah. Ronnie later tells her dad and confesses she didn’t like it. (A stark contrast to the Euphoria teens.) Naturally, Sunny and Sadie Sandler have great chemistry threatening to kill each other one minute and being fine the next, but the most impactful moments are scenes between Stacy and her father. It seems like there wasn’t any acting required for Adam Sandler to play a proud father with questionable fashion choices.
The Sandler sisters give solid performances despite this being their first major roles, although the girls have appeared in small roles in over 20 of their father’s films. So has their mom and Adam Sandler’s wife, Jackie Sandler, who plays Lydia’s mother in the movie. Sandler didn’t write and direct the film, but You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah still had his signature blue comedy. Although, most of the sex humor was swapped out for jokes about puberty—periods, nipple hairs, and a video of queefing. After an embarrassing moment involving a soiled pad, many of the girls tell the boys to chill out, periods are not that big of a deal. Girls sticking up for girls is an important lesson for middle schoolers.
“A woman knows there is nothing better than your friends,” Stacy concludes.
Casting your friends and family is nepotism, but Sandler somehow makes it seem endearing. His down-to-earth approach to Hollywood serves as a good example for his daughters as they navigate their budding careers. Hopefully, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah is only the first of many family collaborations.