You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah director Sammi Cohen has explained why Adam Sandler cast his daughters in his latest film.
The Wedding Singer star appears in Netflix’s comedy opposite his teenage daughters, Sadie, 17, and Sunny, 14. Idina Menzel plays his wife, while Sandler’s real-life spouse Jackie also appears in the film.
YASNITMBM is a part of Sandler’s $350m (£199m) deal with the streaming service and is currently the No 1 film in Netflix’s Top 10 in the UK.
Nonetheless, the film has faced some criticism from social media users suggesting Sadie and Sunny were cast because they were “nepo babies”. This internet term refers to the famous offspring of performers who pursue careers in the entertainment industries themselves.
Speaking in a new interview, director Cohen opened up about Sandler’s reasons for casting Sadie and Sunny.
“Sandler has a reputation for making movies with his friends, and that’s something we all want to do,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
“What I say is, he’s still making movies with his friends, but they’re his kids. He is the kind of dad who’s also your best friend.
“When it comes to the sort of chatter we’re hearing online, I don’t really think twice about it because I’m going like, ‘Yeah, he’s doing the same thing he’s always done.’”
Writing in The Independent, Louis Chilton argued that the commercial and critical success of You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah – which is Sandler’s highest rated film on Rotten Tomatoes – shows that “no one cares about nepotism”.
“There is something nice about the casting in a project like YASNITMBM; seeing real family members interact on screen is its own little thrill,” he wrote.
“It lends the film a lived-in authenticity and makes the otherwise standard-issue family unit feel fleshed out and singular… It’s nepotism, sure, but it’s additive – the film is richer for what it brings.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Cohen said that Sandler was able to juggle “producing, acting, being an actual dad” while working with his daughters.
“He really gave everyone space to do their thing, but when people needed support, he was there,” he said. “He’s wearing multiple hats… Nothing suffers – he does it all 110 per cent.
“I would say he’s a good coach. He knows when to push; he knows when to take a step back. He just understands how to make a good movie, and he’s one of the funniest, kindest human beings.”
The film follows two best friends as their bat mitzvah plans are affected by a popular boy whose attention they’re fighting over.
You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah is on Netflix now.