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Keeping it in the family…

Keeping it in the family…

Adam Sandler is back again in You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah on Netflix – and this time it’s his children who take centre stage

By Chris Miller, Feature Writer

Comedy superstar Adam Sandler has been scoring hit movies since Happy Gilmore in the 1990s. His ability to move between outrageous wackiness (The Waterboy, Little Nicky) and more serious, introspective movies (Punch-Drunk Love, Funny People) and still score big with audiences everywhere has kept Sandler firmly on the A-list for three solid decades.


Recently he’s been a reliable source of hits for Netflix and still maintained that chameleon energy, going from the raucously zany likes of Murder Mystery and its sequel to the more grown-up sports comedy Hustle and the unusual thriller Uncut Gems.


And in case you were worried the Sandler star would ever lose its lustre, we’ve got good news: there’s a new generation of Sandlers to entertain us! In Netflix’s new You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah, an adaptation of Fiona Rosenbloom’s bestselling young adult novel, Adam’s daughters Sunny and Sadie are front and centre for a quirky and moving exploration of teenage life.


It’s not the first time Sunny and Sadie have appeared in their dad’s movies: they both had roles in Blended, The Do-Over, Sandy Wexler and Murder Mystery, among others. But You Are So Not Invited… marks their move into lead roles, with younger sister Sunny doing the heaviest lifting as Stacy, who has always dreamed of an epic bat mitzvah but whose friendship-related and romantic dramas threaten to scupper it. Adam, who also produced the film, plays – of course – the girls’ dad, with Idina Menzel (the voice of Elsa in the Frozen movies) as their mum. Just to complete the family set, real-life mum Jackie Sandler is also in it!


Neither is this the first time a star has shared screen time with their offspring. It’s a no-brainer in lots of ways, and not just because you’d expect children to inherit their parents’ acting chops. They’re likely to have ready-made chemistry too and, especially in the case of child actors, who better to make them feel at home on screen and encourage them to produce a fully committed performance than a parent?


Here are some of our favourite examples…


Eugene and Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

In the award-winning hit sitcom about a rich family fallen on hard times, Dan Levy showed he had more than impressive eyebrows and a memorable chin in common with his father, Canadian comedy legend Eugene. The pair created the series and acted as joint showrunners in the first season, with Dan taking over after that. Yes, you’ve got him to thank for all those brilliant Schitt’s Creek reaction GIFs.


Will and Jaden Smith, The Pursuit Of Happyness

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Will Smith (King Richard) was Oscar-nominated for this emotional drama based on a true story, playing Chris Gardner, a man with an entrepreneurial spirit who faces disappointment, rejection and poverty but never shirks his responsibilities as a parent. The film’s masterstroke was casting Jaden Smith as Chris’s son, as the younger Smith delivered a believable and indelible performance on his screen debut. The pair would reunite on screen in After Earth.


Kate Winslet and Mia Threapleton, I Am Ruth

Find it in Apps & Games > Channel 4

Channel 4’s searing I Am… series has brought women’s stories to the fore and the most recent instalment gave us double the impact, focusing on a teenager struggling to cope with the pressures of social media and the mother suffering along with her. It also gave us double Winslet, as Oscar winner Kate starred with her daughter Mia Threapleton. Kate scored the BAFTA and RTS awards, but Mia was just as impressive in this unforgettable drama.


Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow, Sylvia

Find it in Apps & Games > Prime Video

It’s easy to forget but before Gwyneth Paltrow became a wellness guru and occasional Marvel superhero, she was a serious and critically acclaimed actor in films like this biopic of troubled poet Sylvia Plath. Her mum Blythe Danner, who’s been a successful actor since the 1960s and whose movies include The Prince Of Tides and Meet The Parents, played Sylvia’s mother Aurelia and their rapport was obvious when they shared screen time.


Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson, Deepwater Horizon

Find it in Apps & Games > Prime Video

Almost Famous star Kate Hudson has never appeared in a film alongside her mother Goldie Hawn – but she was in Deepwater Horizon with Goldie’s partner Kurt Russell, who helped raise her and whom she considers her father. In this fact-based film about the 2010 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, Russell played Jimmy Harrell, an oil company man who is injured in the incident; he was saved by Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), whose wife Felicia was played by Hudson.  


Jerry and Ben Stiller, Zoolander

Find it in Apps & Games > Paramount+

Ben Stiller wrote, directed and starred in the cult comedy about a really, really, really, really, really good-looking model stymied by an inability to turn left. It’s packed with hilarious cameos and comic turns (Will Ferrell, David Duchovny, David Bowie), but Ben’s dad Jerry – previously best known as Frank Costanza in Seinfeld – steals the show as Derek Zoolander’s manager, Maury Ballstein. He’s got a prostate the size of a honeydew and a head full of bad memories.


Leslie Mann and Iris and Maude Apatow, This Is 40

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

Writer/producer/director Judd Apatow and actor Leslie Mann met and married early in their careers and collaborated numerous times (The Cable Guy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), so it was only a matter of time before their kids got involved too. Iris and Maude played the mischievous daughters of Debbie (Mann) and Pete (Ant-Man’s Paul Rudd) in Knocked Up and its spin-off focusing on the family unit to amusing effect, especially when Sadie (Maude) and Pete (Rudd) bicker over the merits of Mad Men and Lost.


Andie MacDowell and Margaret Qualley, Maid

Find it in Apps & Games > Netflix

This 10-part adaptation of Stephanie Land’s memoir is an eye-opening perspective on poverty in America and an indictment of a system that allows people to fall through the cracks. It’s also a gripping story centred around two powerhouse performances: Margaret Qualley (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) as the single parent fighting for herself and her daughter, and Qualley’s real-life mum Andie MacDowell (Four Weddings And A Funeral) as the traumatised mother she wants to rely on but can’t.


When is You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah on Netflix?

You can watch Adam, Jackie, Sunny and Sadie Sandler keep it in the family in You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah from Friday 25 August in Apps & Games > Netflix.

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