In this movie based on the young adult novel by Fiona Rosenbloom, Sandler co-stars with his wife and two daughters.
You have to give Adam Sandler credit for being a great husband and father because when he wants to spend time with his family, he doesn’t just take them on vacation; he also makes movies with them, sometimes both at once. His most recent Netflix release, Sammi Cohen’s You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, which is based on Fiona Rosenbloom’s 2005 YA novel and stars his daughter Sunny Sandler and older sister Sadi in the lead roles, out
Thankfully, the extensive favoritism on demonstrate has led to a lovely, humorous movie aimed for young viewers, who will most likely be able to connect to the protagonist’s personal struggles as she gets ready for the movie’s big event. (Although it won’t hurt, as they say, to be Jewish in order to enjoy the film.)
The smaller Sandler daughter demonstrates Stacy, who is who plans for the day in which she and her closest pal Lydia (Samantha Lorraine) become adults in keeping with Jewish tradition. Of course, she has grown into a woman; she exasperatedly remarks to her father Danny (Adam Sandler), “I’ve had my period for seven months now!” when he recommends a silly pastime.
The movie rivals the recent Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret in its frequent references to menstruation, and like the young girl in the Judy Blume adaptation, Stacy also writes letters to God.
Stacy is more concerned with her forthcoming bat mitzvah than with her major infatuation on Josh (Dylan Hoffman, who is ideal for the character), the cutest kid at her Hebrew school, with whom she has had the most contact since he inadvertently struck her in the head with a soccer ball. Things worsen when she responds to a challenge by jumping into the water in front of him and their classmates, only to be embarrassed when her bloody tampon floats to the surface. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you). Then, horror of horrors, Josh ends up dating Lydia, sparking a seemingly irreparable schism between the two buddies and prompting Stacy to give the titular edict.
The subsequent issues play out pretty much as you’d anticipate, with Stacy’s supportive parents Renee (Idina Menzel, who had played Sandler’s wife in the distinct Uncut Gems) and Danny gazing on helplessly. Stacy eventually utilizes her adolescent wits to draw Josh away from Lydia, including working at the senior home where Josh’s grandmother lives and “accidentally” mailing him some suggestive images — only to get in major trouble when the two are spotted making out in the temple’s bimah. (If you don’t know what it is, like I said, it’s beneficial to be Jewish).
Patriarch Sandler, dressed predominantly in Hawaiian shirts and flow shorts, is barely mentioned in the film, giving the greatest amount of the limelight to his daughter, who delivers an endearingly amusing lead performance. As Stacy’s caustic elder sister Ronnie, Sadie is also hilarious, while Lorraine, as Stacy’s best friend, gives strong support. Sarah Sherman, who plays a hipster rabbi who says things like “That’s why the hamantaschen crumbles,” dominates every scene she’s in, and it’s worth the cost of a netflix service just to hear supporting character Jackie Hoffman shout, “Shayna punim!”
As you might expect, the film leans heavily into its Jewishness, without trying to clarify every reference to “goy” audiences. (Obviously, He has never shied away from jokingly highlighting his Jewish roots, having produced one of his greatest successes with “The Chanukah Song.”)
I Were So Almost Welcome to My Bat Mitzvah, like many Sandler comedies (albeit this one is unique), has a few cringe-worthy gags. But, because to its well-observed, humorous depiction of adolescent girl anguish and a true tenderness at its heart, it remains genuinely appealing. And if the sweet finale doesn’t make you cry, you’ve definitely not had a pal like that.