Adam Sandler's daughter Sunny shines in the Toronto-filmed You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, directed by the incredibly talented Sammi Cohen, also featuring Idina Menzel, Sandler's older daughter Sadie and his wife Jackie.
The moment you click into You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah on Netflix, you'll understand exactly why it debuted with a 100 per cent Rotten Tomatoes score.
If you're longing for the days of John Hughes teen movies, but hoping for something more tapped into present day, this movie is exactly what you need. We adored it.
You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah is set in the days leading up to Stacy Friedman's (Sunny Sandler) bat mitzvah. She yearning a New York-themed blowout of a party and wants to start dating her school crush. Stacy's not particularly concerned with the actual meaning of the ceremony.
Stacy is constantly pressuring her parents Danny (Adam Sandler) and Bree (Idina Menzel) to give her everything she could dream of for her bat mitzvah, with added sarcastic commentary from her older sister Ronnie (Sadie Sandler).
By her side at all times is Stacy's friend Lydia (Samantha Lorraine) who always has her back. But one massively embarrassing moment, and a betrayal of friendship, causes a shift for the two teens just before both Lydia and Stacy have their bat mitzvahs.
The 'magical' experience of working with Adam Sandler
As Cohen stepped into a project involving all the Sandlers, the director felt "part of the family."
"I got to spend a ton of time with them leading up to the shoot, Sunny actually had her real bat mitzvah in the months prior to us starting [prep] and so I got to go to her service and the ceremony, and I think it beautifully led into the making of this movie," Cohen told Yahoo Canada.
"There's this really natural chemistry you get with the Sandlers that makes everything feel authentic and slice of life."
Cohen said Adam Sandler was looking for a young, Jewish filmmaker for You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah that could be the "bridge" between older and younger generations, both of which are core components of this story.
"He's the best kind of coach," Cohen said. "He knows when to push and then he knows when to step back."
"He's good at everything. Nothing suffers, actor, producer, dad, both on screen and off. I don't think I'll ever experience anything like it. It was magical."
'I wish I had this as a kid growing up'
When it came to the story more broadly, Cohen was particularly excited about the premise of the film.
"I was like, 'a bar mitzvah movie? Finally. I wish I had this as a kid growing up,'" they said. "I was excited that we got to show people that Jews can have fun."
"We take things so seriously on the one hand and there's so much love and care that goes into these ceremonies, but also it's fun to be Jewish. We come together. It's about family and community, and listening to music and eating food. That feels so personal to me, but it has such a global reach. ... So it was kind of exciting to tell a story that makes Jews feel seen, but that the world can relate to it. It felt like a way to bring people together."
A massive highlight of You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah is the way this movie has a nostalgic feel, but is still very fresh and current.
"I think after reading the script, it felt so personal and nostalgic for me, but it also felt so universal in the same breath," Cohen highlighted. "Very current in tone, but still retained all of that nostalgia."
"There's a lot of the nuances of indie filmmaking, but with these sort of big classic comedic swings that feel more broad. We referenced everything from Shiva Baby to Mean Girls."
'Show up as you are'
You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah does have some specific nods to the great teen-focused movies of the past for the audience to spot, particularly the famed films Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but this film feels like a unique approach to a teen film.
A core component of making that possible was making sure that every character in this movie, particularly the teens, felt real.
"You look at movies like Now and Then or Stand By Me, those kids feel real, but then we wanted it to be as funny as Ferris Bueller," Cohen explained.
Stacy, for example, is very far from a "polished" teen. We see her be messy and sweaty, just the way every teen is. That also extends into how the movie portrays friendships for 13-year-olds.
"I was excited to tell a coming of age story that explores formative friendships in a real, very messy, authentic way," Cohen said. "Kids, [they see themselves] on screen, but oftentimes there's a little bit of dissonance because it's polished and it's perfect."
"Look at Bo Burnham's Eighth Grade. If I had a movie where a kid looked real like that, I would have not hid my face every day. ... [Stacy's] a real kid. I think there's so much value in going, you can be you. Show up as you are."