‘You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah’: Sandler and family star in a comedy blessed with cultural weight

Young Sunny Sandler plays a frazzled teen in Netflix film that leans wonderfully into the culture of the Jewish coming-of-age celebration.

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As her dad (Adam Sandler) looks on, Stacy (Sunny Sandler, right) connects her with her BFF (Samantha Lorraine) in “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah.”

As her dad (Adam Sandler) looks on, Stacy (Sunny Sandler, right) connects her with her BFF (Samantha Lorraine) in “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah.”

Netflix

For some 30 years, we’ve seen two broad categories of Adam Sandler movies:

1. “AGT” (Adam’s Got Talent) films that showcase Sandler’s impressive and sometimes underrated versatility, e.g., “Punch-Drunk Love,” “Spanglish,” “Reign Over Me,” “The Cobbler,” “The Meyerowitz Stories,” “Uncut Gems” and “Hustle.”

2. The Cargo Shorts and Flip-Flop Films, in which it looks like Sandler is wearing comfy home clothes in most scenes as he goes for the big dumb laughs in movies such as “Billy Madison,” “Happy Gilmore,” “Grown-Ups,” “Blended,” “Murder Mystery,” et al.

The charming and big-hearted and culturally significant (I kid you not) Netflix comedy “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” fits squarely into the second category in terms of the outfits worn by Sandler’s character and the fact he’s playing a not-particularly-cool dad who couldn’t possibly care less that he’s not a particularly cool dad, which makes him kind of a cool dad.

‘You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah’

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Netflix presents a film directed by Sammi Cohen and written by Alison Peck, based on the book by Fiona Rosenbloom. Running time: 101 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for some crude/suggestive material, strong language and brief teen drinking). Available Friday on Netflix.

However, this is more of a Sandler Family Project than an Adam Sandler vehicle, with Sandler’s wife and his two daughters playing prominent roles. In fact, Sandler’s daughter Sunny is the lead, and she delivers a winning and natural performance as Stacy Friedman, a 13-year-old girl who experiences an existential crisis as she gets tangled up in middle school hijinks in the build-up to her Bat Mitzvah. Sadie Sandler delivers a deadpan gem of a performance as Stacy’s caustic older sister Ronnie, while Jackie Sandler does fine work playing the mother of Stacy’s best friend.

Talk about Take Your Family to Work Day.

The thing is, with the talented director Sammi Cohen (“Crush”) deftly toggling between comedy and drama, and a knowing and funny screenplay by Alison Peck (adapting the YA novel of the same name by Fiona Rosenbloom), everyone in the Sandler clan nails it, as does the ensemble of promising young actors and invaluable comedic veterans. (Luis Guzman shows up about halfway through the story, looking like he wandered in from another movie set, and kills.) “You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah” manages to feel very much of the present time while paying homage to the sunny coming-of-age comedies of John Hughes.

It’s almost too easy to say this is a Jewish version of “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.” That’s because this IS essentially a Jewish version of the Judy Blume book (andrecent movie adaptation), right down to the detail of Stacy regularly turning to one-way conversations with God as she tries to navigate the journey leading up to her Bat Mitzvah, which become ever more dramatic with each passing day: “Dear God ... I’m not popular, I’m not a loser. I don’t know who I am. But I do know, if I have a kick-ass Bat Mitzvah, doors would open, and I can have a fab life on my own terms.”

Ah, but it’s complicated. Stacy’s well-meaning but sometimes overbearing and always practical parents keep telling her to lower expectations (there will be no Ariana Grande performance), not to mention driving her crazy by inviting the likes of their dry cleaner to the Bat Mitzvah. “That’s so unfair,” exclaims Stacy. “The ratio of old people to normal people is already so unbalanced.” (Sandler’s “Uncut Gems” wife Idina Menzel once again plays his wife here.)

Meanwhile, Stacy has a major fallout with her BFF Lydia (Samantha Lorraine) after Lydia takes up with Stacy’s forever crush, the handsome jock Andy (Dylan Hoffman), who, like just about every dreamy guy in movies like this, is a superficial idiot.

About that earlier aside when I said this movie carries cultural significance: There’s something wonderful and refreshing about a film that leans into and embraces this particular facet of Jewish culture. (Last year’s gem “Cha Cha Real Smooth” featured a number of Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah scenes, but that was filtered through the experiences of the main character, who worked as a DJ.) When Stacy’s hippie rabbi (a hilarious Sarah Sherman from “SNL”) warns Stacy there will be no Bat Mitzvah if Stacy doesn’t finish her mitzvah project, she tells her, “That’s the way the hamantaschen crumbles.” When Stacy gets caught making out in a temple but tries to stave off her father’s reprimands by saying “I need a break,” he responds, “Welcome to being an adult. And welcome to being Jewish. We don’t get breaks.”

Though specific in its humor and humanity, this is a film that also has a universal quality. Anyone who’s ever had a falling-out with a best friend can relate to the heartache felt by Stacy and Lydia when things go sideways — and will be rooting for these two wonderful young women to find their way back to one another. Theirs is a friendship worth saving.

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