The comedy “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” follows the debut of Stacy Friedman (Sunny Sandler), a preteen who is obsessed with the parties that accompany her Hebrew school cohort’s coming-of-age ceremonies.
This joyride to adulthood is a real-life family affair: Sunny stars, and her father, Adam Sandler, amiably rides in the back seat as Stacy’s bewildered dad, Danny. But despite the support Stacy gets from her family (including Idina Menzel as Stacy’s mother, Bree, and Sadie Sandler as her sister, Ronnie), the friendship between Stacy and her best friend, Lydia (Samantha Lorraine), is the film’s emotional core.
Stacy and Lydia have planned their parties and their lives around each other, but their friendship is tested by the most challenging trials of middle school: cute boys, cool girls and menstruation. When Stacy walks in on Lydia kissing their mutual crush, she can’t bring herself to consider her friend’s happiness with the mitzvah season’s rabbi-encouraged maturity. Instead, Stacy disinvites Lydia from her bat mitzvah, and she sets out to redefine what her first steps into womanhood should look like now that she intends to take those steps solo.
The young cast proves deft with the film’s clever script, by Alison Peck (based on the 2005 novel by Fiona Rosenbloom), and the director Sammi Cohen indulges the virgin-mojito passions of preteens while avoiding nostalgia, thankfully. In one of the film’s best jokes, a partygoer requests a dusty mothball on the dance floor: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” For a split second, the movie’s easygoing, contemporary appeal hangs in the balance. And then with delightful rudeness, the film’s middle-aged, disco-ball-helmeted disc jockey, DJ Schmuley (Ido Mosseri), rejects the song, spitting out, “Let Schmuley handle the vibe around here!” A Selena Gomez song fills out the score, and this goofy charmer of a movie bounces on.