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‘You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah’ offers real, humorous portrayal of growing up

Sunny Sandler, father Adam Sandler star in Jewish teen comedy on Netflix

<p>“You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah”<em> </em>follows soon-to-be teenager Stacy Friedman as she prepares for her upcoming bat mitzvah and navigates the dramatic obstacles of seventh grade.</p><p></p><p>Courtesy of Netflix</p><p><br/></p>

“You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” follows soon-to-be teenager Stacy Friedman as she prepares for her upcoming bat mitzvah and navigates the dramatic obstacles of seventh grade.

Courtesy of Netflix

When you’re thirteen years old, there are few things in the world that matter more than being thirteen. Netflix’s recent coming-of-age comedy “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah,” released Aug. 25, captures the chaos and emotional turmoil of teenage girlhood, camouflaging a surprisingly mature core message in the midst of a compilation of silly antics and creative choices. Based on Fiona Rosenbloom’s 2005 book of the same name, the film notably stars all four members of actor Adam Sandler’s family, with a debut performance from his daughter Sunny Sandler as protagonist Stacy Friedman. 

Staying true to its catty, eye-catching title, “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” follows Stacy, a soon-to-be teenager, as she prepares for her upcoming bat mitzvah and navigates the dramatic obstacles of seventh grade. The film is primarily centered around Stacy’s friendship with her best friend, Lydia (Samantha Lorraine), and how it is tested by the social pressures of middle school, from messy crushes on cute boys to trying to fit in with the cool girls. Stacy’s close relationship with her parents (Adam Sandler and Idina Menzel) and older sister (Sadie Sandler) also plays a significant narrative role in the film. Though it is likely relatable to all in its portrayal of junior high troubles, the film tells Stacy’s story through the lens of a Jewish teenager, putting a spotlight on the experience of growing up with the culture and practices of Jewish communities. 

“You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” is aware of the simplicity of its premise, wasting no time in throwing the audience into Stacy’s tweenage problems and playing out scenarios that, though cringeworthy, hit the nail on the head in their replication of adolescent frivolity. Stacy and Lydia, whose entire lives have revolved around each other since early childhood, find themselves torn apart by a mutual crush: Hebrew school heartthrob Andy Goldfarb (Dylan Hoffman). 

In the midst of this drama, Stacy finds herself grappling with pressure to impress her judgemental peers, appear more grown up than her parents will allow her to be and make preparations for her upcoming bat mitzvah ceremony. With her entrance into adulthood fastly approaching, she faces the challenge of learning what it really means to reach emotional maturity and stay true to herself. This is partially reflected in the film’s depiction of Stacy’s dilemma over what to do for her mitzvah project, an opportunity for Jewish youth to uplift their religious values of compassion and generosity by giving back to their community. Despite how trivial the decisions Stacy makes may appear to us as older viewers, the film excels at presenting how she approaches them as life-or-death situations, successfully eliciting our sympathy for a protagonist whose actions are almost too embarrassing to witness.


This is not to say that the movie is always easy to sit through. Painfully filled with Gen-Z lingo and questionable pop songs that often begin to play out of nowhere, the film’s stylistic choices make it glaringly obvious that it is not immune from devolving into a stereotypical campy Netflix teen flick. But unlike many of the other movies on the streaming service, “You Are So Not Invited to my Bat Mitzvah” acknowledges and even flaunts its ridiculousness, sending a message to younger viewers that it is okay to be unapologetically yourself and that it is natural for early adolescence to be a time of awkward mistakes and overdramatic meltdowns. 

Friendship breakups and middle school romances aside, the standout aspect of “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” is the dynamic between Stacy and her loving, yet often unserious, father Danny. Their connection feels undeniably authentic — which is unsurprising, given that the two actors share a real-life father-daughter bond. Their scenes feel more like witnessing an actual father giving advice and spending genuine time with his daughter than the stiff, non-believable parent-child relationships suffered by other teenage-marketed movies. The same goes for Stacy’s bond with her sarcastic yet supportive sister Ronnie, played by Sunny Sandler’s actual older sister Sadie. The stars of the film bring an unexpected but charming surprise by showcasing that their family relations do not overshadow the genuine talent and chemistry they display on screen.  

In an interview with Variety, director Sammi Cohen said, “Adam plays dad to his daughters, but they’re able to detach. When we enter the Friedman house and we’re making a movie, it’s its own thing. … Everyone (has) space to do what they do best, but there’s also support when you need it.” 

With the enjoyable success of “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah,” it feels safe to anticipate future acting endeavors by the Sandler sisters. Taking family comedies to a literal level, the film reminds viewers that growing up is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be embraced — sparkles and mascara-stained tears and all. 


Isabel Hahn

Isabel Hahn is an Arts & Culture section editor who concentrates in English and Behavioral Decision Sciences. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, and journaling.

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