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Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

I don’t want to go to Adam Sandler’s Bat Mitzvah

I took on Adam Sandler once already for a Globe article when I reviewed his film “Murder Mystery 2” last year. I don’t want to rehash all of my thoughts and feelings on him; basically, I liked his movies as a kid, and have since come to realize that the majority of them are bad, and seem to keep getting worse every year. That’s where I’m at. 


I thought his latest film, “You’re So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” would continue the trend. But it didn’t. “Bat Mitzvah” actually offered something quite different than what I was expecting. I was ready for a fart filled, sarcasm saturated, SNL man-child reunion, but that’s not what this was. However, that still doesn’t mean it was good. 


Sandler himself is not the star of “Bat Mitzvah,” but rather his youngest daughter is. Instead, he’s just the dad that pops in every once in a while with hilarious one liners or goofy outfits. Sandler’s eldest daughter and wife are in the film as well, although she doesn’t play his wife in the movie, Idina Menzel does. Either way, the movie’s a real family affair. 


Since the movie’s release, controversy has been circling online about Sandler’s daughters being cast with him, the director of the film, Sammi Cohen commented on the topic, saying, “Adam Sandler likes to make movies with his friends; this is like that, but they’re his kids instead!” I could write a whole separate piece just unpacking that, but I’ll restrain myself. I don’t agree with that mentality, as although I’m sure careers like David Spades’ and Kevin James’ have been elevated thanks to Sandler letting them catch a ride on his success train, they still had to put in work to make a name for themselves independent from that. There’s a difference between someone casting a recognized colleague that also happens to be a friend and just casting your kids. One has established some level of skill, and the other… hasn’t. 


I don’t want to be too harsh on Sunny or Sadie Sandler, as they’re both still quite young. Sadie is 17, and Sunny is only 14. I’ll just leave it at saying I don’t think either necessarily showcased a performance that was so mature or outstanding that it would justify their casting beyond them being Adam Sandler’s daughters, and that’s perfectly ok. After all, they’re just kids. For both of them, this was their first time having such a substantial role. I commend them for taking it on, as I wouldn’t have the courage to do that at 20, let alone 14 or 17. 


Their father, on the other hand, seems to be getting more and more lazy with each movie he appears in. Any of the energy Adam Sandler had back in the 2010’s, let alone the 90’s, is completely gone. He shows up in a hoodie and sweatpants, says a few “jokes” under his breath, and calls it a day. I think he’s trying to make that the joke, coming in looking like middle-aged Mike Stanley from “Hannah Montana,” acting like he’s too old for anything and everything anyone has to say to him. I don’t think his not caring is a joke, I just think he seriously doesn’t care. However, with his more limited influence in the film and role as a supporting character, he didn’t manage to do too much damage on his own. A lackluster story and confused agenda did far worse. 


First of all, I commend what this movie was trying to do in terms of representation. I’ve always commended Adam Sandler for his efforts to elevate Jewish representation in the media. I am not Jewish, but my father is, so growing up, I was exposed to several Jewish traditions. Still, I don’t think it’s my place to say whether or not this film did a good job representing the Jewish community or the process of having a bat mitzvah as I never had one myself. However, I do think it’s fair to say that I didn’t really glean anything particular about Jewish culture from this movie. Sure, there were several bat mitzvahs, but I don’t think it really taught me anything about them, other than that everyone wanted DJ Schmuley at theirs. I mean, really, I think you could replace the bat mitzvah with a sweet 16 and it wouldn’t make a whole lot of difference. 


I understand the power in that physical representation on the screen, which is to see someone that looks like you, or is the same age as you, or is celebrating a similar event as you. That alone does a lot for self-confidence and for a sense of belonging. I just have to wonder what this movie thinks it’s doing for emotional representation, like thoughts or feelings. How much is this movie doing for that side when the story really has nothing to do with the bat mitzvah itself. Instead, it’s about two girls fighting over a boy. The transformation she goes through is more about learning to be a good friend than learning to appreciate her culture. She focuses too much on the glitz and glamor of the event, and in the end learns…not to be a jerk? Shouldn’t she be learning about the meaning of the tradition? That’s where it feels like the inclusion is a little devoid of meaning. But at the end of the day, it is just an Adam Sandler movie, I don’t expect him to take on the entire issue of representation in his hour and a half comedy. 


I think “Bat Mitzvah” had commendable intentions, it just didn’t execute them properly. It’s not very funny, and the story felt lackluster for the most part. You could do worse on a Friday night than to put this on, but you could certainly do much better as well. 

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