Don’t expect a riveter like “Oppenheimer,” or a puff of cotton candy like “Barbie,” but the new Netflix Adam Sandler movie, “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah,” is a hearty bowl of matzo brie with a dab of black cherry jam.
Not afraid to look in the mirror or experience emotions about being in a Jewish family, Sandler relishes in his own irreverence and smaltz that suits our generation.
In real life, over-the-top Jewish celebrations date back to a Miami pharmacist who made headlines by releasing hundreds of live doves at his daughter’s Fountainbleau wedding. But that doesn’t necessarily correlate to losing the emotions wrapped inside.
“You Are So Not Invited” is a tale of finding one’s own way amidst teenage angst, and the role parenting, apologizing, and educating can play that applies to many cultures.
Fan Miriam Haviv noted, “I loved the movie! As a mother of two teenagers who graduated from Davis and lived through mitzvah drama, I was touched by the real and raw depiction of those tender years, and it made me want to go back and hug them.”
Part of the movie’s joy is Sandler’s real-life daughters, Sunny and Sadie, who play themselves; his wife has the role of the friend’s mother. Idina Mendzel is endearing as Sandler’s “movie” wife. Fighting over a popular boy and Hebrew school drama come between friends comically and poignantly at the same time. Yes, there are fancy Range Rovers and glamorous homes, but Sandler injects his zaniness and off-color humor to just the right degree. And what parent hasn’t wanted to pick up an obstreperous teen and sling her over his shoulder — ever so gently — to get that tuchas moving in the right direction? Coming out of nowhere, Sadie and Sunny deserve a “Beginner’s Oscar” for their performances.
The Hebrew school was replete with fun loving rabbi/cantor teachers, who insisted on good values and made the kids feel at ease in loving Judaism. Teens found kissing behind the Torah curtain were disciplined with no uncertainty. The halls were filled with mixed races, shapes, and sizes. The atmosphere was upbeat as the Judaica in the hallway glass cases were selected with great care. Although the female rabbi was seen exercising on the treadmill in her office singing silly tropes to make her point, there was no doubt that she was “good people.”
Also Jewish is the sea of many opinions. When reaching out to Facebook’s Jewish Moms of Atlanta, commenters were split between seeing Jews in a negative light to Sandler hitting a bull’s-eye target.
Fan Melissa Mooney Wikoff said, “I’m grateful that Sandler created a piece about a Jewish family that didn’t have awful stereotypes. They were just a normal family like my own…my daughter saw kids going to Hebrew school, and the theme about friendship vs. a princess needing to be saved…the look on my daughter’s face when they sang, ‘BIM BAM!’”
On the other hand, Lynn Fichman Savage compared the film to “Crazy Rich Asians,” saying, “The rabbi made me feel uncomfortable. My 12-year-old granddaughter and her friends didn’t particularly like it. Non-Jews watching it, unless they live in New York or Los Angeles, may not understand that parts are a parody.”
Andreas Harris added, “The movie was a disappointing portrayal about what is a beautiful ceremony that is crucial to Judaism…I live in Georgia and am constantly proselytized by those who don’t know us. For a Jewish celebrity to have the opportunity to tell our story and so miss the ball, annoyed me.”
Denise Talent-Deitchman concluded, “My whole family, kids 13 and 15, loved the religious aspect of how much work goes into preparing for a bat mitzvah, religious school, connection with the rabbi, the importance of a mitzvah project, the parent’s pride, teen drama, were spot on.”
Jennifer Rouge Lowenstein exclaimed, “Great family movie. My 22-, 20-, and 17-year-olds and my husband and I, all related to it. We liked how the older sister always had friends around. We have that type of home where everyone is welcomed. My children said the Sunday school scenes were exactly right.”
Was Sandler a good parent? Align your expectations and invite yourself to this bat mitzvah.
- Arts and Culture
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Adam Sandler
- You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah
- Miriam Haviv
- Davis Academy
- Idina Mendzel
- Sunny and Sadie Sandler
- Melissa Mooney Wikoff
- Facebook's Jewish Moms of Atlanta
- Lynn Fichman Savage
- Crazy Rich Asians
- Andreas Harris
- Denise Talent-Deitchman
- Jennifer Rouge Lowenstein