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“You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” exceeded my low expectations

“You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” (YASNITMBM) is a Netflix Original from Happy Madison Productions starring Adam Sandler and his entire family. This spiritual sequel to “Uncut Gems” (not really, but a girl can dream) outlines the many dramas and difficulties that can occur during a middle school girl’s bat mitzvah year.

 

This is not a movie meant for all audiences. If you have no frame of reference for bar or bat mitzvahs, if you don’t enjoy pre-teen movies and/or if you do not care about the female coming-of-age experience, please just skip YASNITMBM, it will be a miserable watch. If you still think you are in the target audience, YASNITMBM is a cute, relatable, deeply cringey YA movie that thoroughly surpassed my rock-bottom expectations.

 

I am no Adam Sandler fan, but I am a strong supporter of his once-in-a-decade quality movies, which seem to be coming out quite frequently. YASNITMBM isn’t an edgy indie breakout hit, but it is a strong comedy and a pleasure to watch. Outside of one overly gross joke, nothing in this movie sticks out as being in bad taste. The characters don’t feel soulless. The plot is much more than a stretched-out Dunkin’ Donuts ad. It is neither the funniest kids’ movie released this year nor the best written, but it fulfilled the requirements for a feel-good family movie.

 

This movie’s biggest misstep, which is simply an unavoidable reality in any Adam Sandler production, is how one-note the world is. The center of this movie is a twelve-year-old girl and her middle school peers. YASNITMBM shows middle schoolers as one cohesive group of people with the only difference between any of them being who is the popular kid and who is not. They are all obscenely wealthy Jewish kids who attend the same synagogue, the same (presumably) public school and who all go to one another’s mitzvah parties.

 

This silly tween movie did not need to delve into classism or religious tensions, but the movie felt shallow when every character fits the same base description. Occasional attempts are made, à la “Eighth Grade,” to differentiate characters by writing some to be awkward or out of the zeitgeist. Still, ultimately, the lines between the protagonist, her friends and the mean popular girls are almost non-existent.

 

YASNITMBM is stuffed with cliches, which is why I did not feel a need to provide any real summary. Whatever you think happens in a movie with this title is likely pretty accurate. But this should not be held against it. YASNITMBM does not pretend to be something new or special. All this movie is is a classic coming-of-age story told through the lense of a bat mitzvah. And, once again, it fulfills that role. 

 

Despite its reliance on cliches and its monotonal world, much of the charm of YASNITMBM is in its relatability. When watching the movie alongside two other bar mitzvahs, we constantly noted how subtle details so accurately captured the experience, from practicing our Torah portions with poor-quality recordings made by our cantor, to the desire and ultimate regret of wearing heels, to the character of Andy Goldfarb whose personality we could all place directly onto a boy in our Hebrew schools. What YASNITMBM lacks in creativity it makes up for in details that fill out the world. 

 

As an endnote, this movie briefly and inexplicably, brings up multiple horror movies that I feel I must comment on. The two lesser-known movies brought up are “Leprechaun In The Hood” and “Evil Dead II.” The “Leprechaun” series is an extremely weird and often overlooked series that I would recommend to slasher fans, but the specific film endorsed in YASNITMBM is likely not worth your time. “Evil Dead II” is the best movie in a near-perfect horror trilogy that I cannot recommend highly enough to literally everyone. The slander present in YASNITMBM against “Evil Dead II” is detestable and not remotely representative of my feelings. Watch “Evil Dead II.”

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