Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Movie with Abe: Donny’s Bar Mitzvah

Donny’s Bar Mitzvah
Directed by Jonny Comebacks
Released March 23, 2021 (VOD)

A Bar Mitzvah officially signifies a Jewish boy becoming an adult and a part of the Jewish people. Typically, the religious ceremony is also accompanied by a big party filled with friends and family. Those who grew up in Jewish communities likely remember the excess that went along with some celebrations, and as kids may not have noticed how parents were behaving when they had the chance to interact their own friends at such an event. The wildest occurrences are exaggerated in every possible way in this lewd and absurd send-up of the late 1990s and the most over-the-top people you’d ever meet at a Bar Mitzvah party.

Donny (Steele Stebbins) isn’t looking forward to his big night. His mom (Wendy Braun) is way too stressed out and nervous about everything going right, including the dance he’s supposed to do with his friends, and he’s worried that one of his buddies is going to mess things up with his new girlfriend, Hannah (Isabelle Anaya). Among the many other subplots are his sister Michelle (Jessica Renee Russell) trying to appease her matchmaker grandmother by pretending to date her friend David (Radek Lord), who’s actually gay and interested in both her brother and her father, an emcee (Jeremy Tardy) on the hunt for a party disrupter, and a table of parents ready to indulge in their worst habits all night.

This film is best described as “The Hebrew Hammer” meets “Super Troopers,” taking remembered experiences and amplifying them exponentially to the absurd. The numerous lunacies portrayed here might have happened, or likelier people wish they had happened, in real life. This excessive gathering is the theoretical product of every single adult guest being that crazy relative you didn’t want to come or the work colleague you wish you didn’t have to invite. That mixed with an unhealthy helping of teenage testosterone plus a good deal of vomiting, defecation, descriptive sex, and completely random subplots represents the major ingredients in this delirious concoction.

The actors do seem like they’re having fun here, with the younger cast, led by Stebbins and Russell, imitating the more obnoxious and awkward tendencies of teenagers assigning too much weight to minor moments and childish impulses. The adult ensemble generally opts for broader comedy, though some of the performances, like those from Michael Patrick McGill and Noureen DeWulf, are especially entertaining. Those searching for sophistication or some actual representation of a Bar Mitzvah ceremony won’t find either here, but there’s an oddly appealing rhythm to this film’s unchecked lunacy. Its commitment to offending everyone isn’t necessarily laudable, but its parody of a time period and a state of mind does have decent zany entertainment value.


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