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The Independent Critic

Idina Menzel, Jackie Sandler, Adam Sandler, Sunny Sandler, Sadie Sandler, Samantha Lorraine, Sarah Sherman, Dylan Hoffman
Sammi Cohen
Alison Peck, Fiona Rosenbloom (Novel)
Rated PG-13
101 Mins.

 Movie Review: You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah 
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Sunny Sandler has been paying attention. 

You can cry nepotism all you want, but if this is the kind of film that results when Happy Madison dips into the Sandler family tree for its storytelling then I'm all in favor of it. While dad's got the big name here, it's really Sunny Sandler, Adam's youngest daughter, who is front-and-center as Stacy, a young girl on her way to her Bat Mitzvah alongside BFF Lydia (Samantha Lorraine) whose semi-ordinary life gets thrown some curves when a cute boy gets in the way. 

I can't help but think that the fine folks at Netflix did a double-take when they first checked out You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah, easily one of the best and most rewarding of the Happy Madison Netflix films and I'd dare say destined to be one of 2023's most rewarding family films. 

Adapted from a YA book of the same name by Fiona Rosenbloom, You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is grounded within the culture that Sandler himself lives and he seems invigorated bringing this material to life and watching his family shine. Indeed, young Sunny Sandler is not only naturally talented but seems to have been clearly paying attention to exactly what has made her father such a beloved actor and comedian and she captures it all quite nicely with a performance that is warm, winning, and surprisingly transparent. 

There's a relaxed chemistry that radiates throughout and everyone here has an opportunity or two to shine. Adam Sandler himself is an absolute charmer as a dad befuddled by his eldest daughter's sudden lack of interest in spending time with the popster. Idina Menzel shines as his wife. Real-life Sandler Spouse Jackie plays Lydia's mom and Sadie, the eldest Sandler daughter, is here as Lydia's sister Ronnie. 

The only real Happy Madison regular to be found here is Luis Guzman, whose turn gives the film some of its comic gold. Sarah Sherman is an absolute scene-stealer as Rabbi Rebecca, whose ability to connect with the kids may have you wishing you could sit in one of her classes. 

Directed by Sammi Cohen, You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is seems to understand the young teen girl experience in a way that would make Judy Blume proud, though it also immerses us in Jewish culture in a way that feels honest, feel, authentic, and respectful. 

It hasn't been a long time since I could say that I loved every moment of an Adam Sandler film. In fact, it happens quite often. However, it has been a long time since that film was under the Happy Madison umbrella. While I'd likely need to revisit all the titles, it's entirely likely this is my favorite of Sandler's low-effort, high reward Netflix films. There's so much heart and humor here that I found myself mumbling "If this is Sandler's new direction, I'm all in." Now then, I doubt this is a "new direction" for Sandler. He's always been willing to take chances and this was a chance worth taking. Sunny Sandler? She's an absolute find and with stories like this one here's hoping we'll be seeing a whole lot more from the Sandler family in future efforts. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic