By Bob Grimm
Adam Sandler gets his family in on the act with You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, an adorable and consistently funny teen comedy that moves his youngest daughter, Sunny Sandler, into the spotlight.
In what amounts to her breakout role, Sunny plays Stacy Friedman, a teen about to partake in the movie’s titular event. She proves to be a wonderful presence.
Sandler’s oldest daughter, Sadie, shows up in a supporting role, as does his wife, Jackie, as the mom of another teen, Lydia (Samantha Lorraine), Sunny’s best friend. All of the Sandlers, including Adam playing Danny, Sunny’s dad, prove that goofy-breezy comedic talent runs in the family. They’re also all capable of handling the heavy dramatic parts—and unsurprisingly, they have great chemistry together.
In the year’s second-best movie about a young girl coming of age (the similarly themed Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is still my frontrunner as the year’s best film), Stacy must mitigate the emotional swings and body changes that come with being a teenager while preparing herself for that all-important bat mitzvah.
The bat mitzvahs in this movie are full-blown social events that command large budgets, vast planning and crazy DJs. Stacy and Lydia are planning to help each other out until a battle brews over a boy, Andy (a very laid-back Dylan Hoffman)—and their friendship is imperiled.
Credit director Sammi Cohen for keeping things lively, working with a script by Alison Peck and Fiona Rosenbloom. The film is full of bright colors and plenty of giggles, with more than a few belly laughs thrown in. It’s no mistake that there’s a scene where Danny takes Stacy to a John Hughes film festival. This film shoots for a similar vibe—and succeeds.