Every culture has its own coming-of-age ritual. It represents the bridge between childhood and the slow growth to adulthood.
In the new Netflix movie, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, Stacy Friedman (Sunny Sandler) is preparing for her bat mitzvah. Her parents, Danny (Sunny’s IRL father, Adam Sandler) and Bree (Idina Menzel), are eager to see their younger daughter become a young woman. Adding sarcastic commentary is their older daughter, Ronnie (Sadie Sandler, Sandler’s other real-life daughter).
Based on the book of the same name by Fiona Rosenbloom, Stacy has been BFFs with Lydia Rodriguez Katz (Samantha Lorraine) for as long as both can remember. Their relationship is tested by a popular boy that Stacy has a crush on and the drama that comes with being in middle school.
Anyone Can Relate to This Story
We were all 13 once. It is a time of first crushes, first kisses, and the start of figuring out that life is not always black and white. It’s been a long time since I was that age. If nothing else, the confusion comes to mind. You want to be seen and treated as an adult. But the mindset of the child still reigns supreme.
Stacy’s story arc is one of figuring out what (and who) is important. Without giving away specifics, her anger gets the best of her. It tests the bounds of her long-time friendship with Lydia, forcing her to reconsider where her social priorities lie.
I had two different reactions. My first was to want to walk through the screen and warn Stacy of her impending mistake. A romantic relationship is nice, but friends are more important. My second was to let her go through it. Experience is sometimes the most effective teacher.
Sandler Has Put the Man Boy in the Past
At the beginning of his career, Sandler was known for playing the man-boy in films like Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison. As funny and quotable as the films are, neither of these films are not meant for the hoi polloi. Though Happy Gilmore falls higher on the maturity level than Billy Madison, the humor is very junior high school.
Playing opposite Menzel (his Uncut Gems on-screen spouse), he continues to show how he has grown as an actor over the years, especially in the last few. In this film, he is a middle-aged husband and father. Though Sandler still shows traces of his former self, he steps back in this one and lets his daughter shine.
I Love Rabbi Rebecca
There are two kinds of clergy. The first are traditionalists who follow the letter of the law to its fullest. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but that’s a little boring in my mind. The second are just as well-versed, but they understand how to reach their congregants and students.
Rabbi Rebecca (SNL’s Sarah Sherman) is both funny and educational without trying too hard. I laughed during her scenes. I loved her colorful outfits, her treadmill desk, and her teaching style. She has a way of talking to the kids that made me wish that she was my Rabbi back in the day. There is a kookiness to her teaching method that made what could have been a boring experience different and memorable.
What I hope that viewers will take away from You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah is that the growing-up experience is universal, regardless of where we live or what we believe. It is painful and difficult at times, but it is necessary.
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