Hollywood just can’t stop copying itself! First, we get two movies about asteroids hitting the Earth. Then come two different limited series about the opioid crisis. Now, there are two movies in which Adam Sandler and Idina Menzel play harried parents trying to navigate an important Jewish tradition while keeping their adolescent children happy?
Okay, yes, beyond those specific details, the 2019 adrenaline rush Uncut Gems and 2023’s young and fun comedy You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah might not have a ton in common. But those details are pretty big, creating a funhouse mirror effect if you watch them back to back (as I might have foolishly done for this piece).
The two films represent both sides of the binary that is Adam Sandler’s career, as he can now enjoy literally the best of both worlds: creative risk-taking when he feels like it and fancy vacations on the production’s dime when he feels like that. For Sandler has developed a very comfortable position for himself on Netflix at this point — Bat Mitzvah is the third comedy he’s produced for the streaming service just in 2023, following Murder Mystery 2 and The Out-Laws.
Bat Mitzvah, though, is very much him making that deal the family business, as the film’s true star is Sunny Sandler (making her 21st screen appearance at the age of 14) as Stacy Friedman, a girl just on the verge of her own titular coming-of-age event. The whole nuclear family appears in the film, actually — while Menzel plays Sunny’s mom Bree, Adam is of course Stacy’s father Danny, while Sunny’s older sister Sadie plays Ronnie Friedman, Stacy’s older sister, and Jackie Sandler plays Gabi Rodriguez Katz, the mother of Stacy’s best friend Lydia (Samantha Lorraine). (There are too many names beginning with S in this paragraph.)
In Bat Mitzvah, Stacy is on the cusp of ritually decreed womanhood, with all the complications that entails — if you saw Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret earlier this year, you’re fully versed in the basics. While everything’s in place for her big coming-of-age bash, the tweenage social world is a perilous one, and a fight with the aforementioned Lydia leads to apocalyptic embarrassment for everyone involved.