The new Netflix movie, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, which starts streaming on August 25, just released a trailer, which shows that it is very much a Sandler family affair, with Adam Sandler playing the goofy dad to the bat mitzvah girl, Stacy, who is portrayed by his real-life daughter, Sunny Sandler. His older daughter, Sadie Sandler, also has a role in the movie.
Adam plays Danny Friedman, who urges calm and moderation on Stacy, who has an idea that her bat mitzvah will set the tone for her entire adult life, a daunting prospect. She isn’t one of the cool kids and she is convinced that the bat mitzvah can turn it around for her, so she becomes the bat mitzvah equivalent of a bridezilla as the family plans the event. While she wants pop star Dua Lipa to play at the party, her father offers her a ball pit, much to her disgust. Later on, she calls him a jerk because he won’t let her have a mojito bar. He responds, as many a father would, “That’s why we fought the Nazis? So you could have a mojito bar?”
But even more than Dua Lipa and mojito bars, she wants Andy Goldfarb (Dylan Hoffman). As she tells her best friend, Lydia (Samantha Lorraine ), “One day, Andy Goldfarb will be mine and you will have a cool boyfriend, too, and then we’ll have adjoining lofts in Tribeca.” Excited by this vision of their future, Lydia, adds, “In Taylor Swift’s building!”
What could possibly go wrong?
Big bat mitzvah drama in Adam Sandler's movie
Well, Stacy could catch Lydia and Andy locking lips (not a spoiler, it’s in the trailer), leading the girls into a toxic spiral of former best-friend hate. Since they’re all in middle school, a place where bad behavior is notoriously contagious, Stacy crosses more than a few lines in her quest for revenge, and the fate of the bat mitzvah itself hangs in the balance.
If you want to find out whether they reconcile and Adam Sandler gets to kvell, you’ll have to wait till August 25.
The supporting cast in this movie includes Sarah Sherman (Saturday Night Live), Luis Guzmán (Punch-Drunk Love), Ido Mosseri (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, The Jews are Coming), and Dean Scott Vazquez (Transformers: Rise of The Beasts). Idina Menzel, who starred with Sandler in Uncut Gems and played Rachel Berry’s mother on Glee, is Stacy’s mom.
There have been a few bar mitzvah movies and TV episodes over the years, although not as many as you might think, and almost no bat mitzvah stories. I can’t think of an earlier screen bar mitzvah than the belated coming-of-age ceremony for Buddy (Morey Amsterdam) on The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1966. The Wonder Years featured a bar mitzvah decades later, and Weeds, the series in about a housewife who deals marijuana actually ends at the bar mitzvah of the son she had with a drug dealer. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend had a bar mitzvah with a musical number, Remember That We Suffered, led by Patti LuPone, who played Rabbi Shari, and Tovah Feldshuh as the heroine’s mother.
In the movies, a bar mitzvah is part of the plot of the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man in 2009, and more recently, Cha Cha Real Smooth told the story of a guy hired to keep the energy high at bar mitzvahs who falls in love with one of the mothers of the guests. But the movie where the ceremony is most central is Keeping Up with the Steins, a critique of how bar mitzvahs have become a big-bucks competition, featuring Jeremy Piven as the dad. In one scene, a boy has a party on an ocean liner and mimics the iconic moment from Titanic, proclaiming, “I’m the king of the Torah!”
It was Piven who also played the father in one of the rarer on-screen bat mitzvahs, on an episode of Entourage. His character, superagent Ari Gold, pressures his client Vince to put in an appearance at his daughter’s bat mitzvah, and it features scenes where she practices her Torah portion in a rather unmelodious voice.
More recently, the series, And Just Like That... featured the character Charlotte frantically planning an elaborate bat mitzvah for her daughter, who is totally not into it and eventually refuses to take part. This leads to a surprisingly touching scene in which Charlotte, a convert, turns it into the bat mitzvah she never had, a bit like Buddy on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Whether You Are So Not Invited... will be the leaky fountain pen of bat mitzvah flicks or a joyful coming-of-age celebration where everyone hits the dance floor remains to be seen. But when Adam Sandler makes a movie with a Jewish theme, like You Don’t Mess with the Zohan or Uncut Gems, the result is usually a lot of fun.