8 Movies Like You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah (2023)

Staff & contributors

Chasing the feel of watching You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah ? Here are the movies we recommend you watch right after.

Funny, refreshing, and heartwarming, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah gives the seminal girlhood film Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. a Gen Z update. Stacy and her friends are constantly on social media and watch each other for potentially politically incorrect terms, but they also struggle with period pain, crushes, and falling out with former friends. It’s a confusing time in a kid’s life, and  You Are So Not Invited, like Are You There God? before it, honors that. It never condescends, never strays far from the child’s perspective. It’s jubilant and heartwarming, and (to me at least) it’s always fun to see real-life families play themselves in movies. Judd Apatow experimented with this structure in his semi-autobiographical films Knocked Up and This Is 40, which first gave us a glimpse into his daughter Maude Apatow’s acting prowess. I feel You Are So Not Invited will do the same to its young star Sunny Sandler, whose effortlessly funny and charming performance will surely carve a path for a promising career in the future.  

The Royal Hotel sees Hanna (Julia Garner) and Liv (Jessica Henwick) resorting to take up a dire live-in job behind the bar in a remote desert part of Western Australia. Although they're warned that they'd "have to be okay with a little male attention" in the outcast mining town, their financial precarity overrides the potential fear. Curiously enough, the fiction film is based on a real story, already told in the 2016 documentary Hotel Coolgardie by Pete Gleeson, but The Assistant director Kitty Green pulls no punches when representing how suffocating it must feel to be encircled by such unmediated male aggression. The brawls, the spilled beer, the c-word as a greeting all form the unnerving paraphernalia of life then and there. For Australian independent film devotees, there is actor Toby Wallace, who reprises his bad boy role from Babyteeth, and he's joined by the ranks of Herbert Nordrum (The Worst Person in the World) and an utterly terrifying Hugo Weaving (The Matrix).

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Alex Malone, Barbara Lowing, Baykali Ganambarr, Bree Bain, Bruce R. Carter, Daniel Henshall, Herbert Nordrum, Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Jessica Henwick, Julia Garner, Kate Cheel, Patrick Frost, Toby Wallace, Ursula Yovich, Valerie Berry

Director: Kitty Green

Rating: R

While it starts off slow and rocky, River Wild sails smoothly as soon as it hits the waters. The rafting on the rapids, the wild chases, the suspenseful silences—all are effectively shot and believably terrifying, even if they border on predictability at times. Real-life couple Meester and Brody are vulnerable and intense, adding some depth to an otherwise basic story. Killam is compelling too, especially during the action sequences, but I might have seen him in one-too-many comedy sketches to trust his sincerity here. It’s not the best outdoor thriller by a long shot, especially if you compare it to the superior 1994 original film starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon, but it is entertaining in its own right. 

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Adam Brody, Courtney Chen, Eve Connolly, Leighton Meester, Matt Devere, Nicholas Wittman, Olivia Swann, Taran Killam

Director: Ben Ketai

So much of Puppy Love is adorable. The title alone promises that, and to be fair, it actually delivers. The movie is filled with romance, pooches, and hijinks that circle back to those two core aspects. I couldn’t be giddier watching this, as a dog lover and romantic comedy aficionado myself, but it’s frustrating how the movie doesn’t go above and beyond its basic premise, even if it easily could’ve done so. It has strong leads in Hale and Gustin, whose chemistry may be lacking but who individually perform well. It has a decent script, “reasonably funny” as it calls itself in the film, delivering amusing and touching lines in equal measure. It even manages to flesh out Nicole and Max with backstories; Max, in particular, gets an interesting characterization as an anxious germaphobe who refuses to go to the office for work. But for whatever reason, every exciting thorn in this premise gets smoothed out by the end. The tension is never realized and loose ends are tied up neatly in a conclusion that feels too simplified for its own good. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Al Miro, Christine Lee, Corey Woods, Grant Gustin, Jane Seymour, Lucy Hale, Michael Hitchcock, Nore Davis, Rachel Risen, Sarah Almonte Peguero

Director: Nicholas Fabiano, Richard Alan Reid

Operating in a similar style and speed as the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time and Uncut Gems, Freestyle gives us a peek into the seedy underbelly of Poland through the eyes of Diego, a smalltime muscian who slides back into his drug dealing ways when he finds himself short on money. On the sensory front, Freestyle is a thrilling experience. Diego charges the film with palpable anxiety, Kraków’s underground community lights it up in dizzying neon, and the local hip-hop scene backs it with exciting new sounds. It’s a technical feat, but stripped of these elements, Freestyle is nothing more than a predictable crime thriller populated with predictable characters, many of whom, by the way, are thrown in at random points in the movie so that it often gets confusing and infuriating to watch. Despite potentially having something to say about the apathy of youth or the glaring discrepancy between social classes, Freestyle seems solely interested in being a slick crime thriller that has its characters run around in circles to save themselves. It looks good and sounds even better, but without anything substantial holding it up, Freestyle fails to relay an authentic sense of relevance and urgency. 

Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Artur Krajewski, Filip Lipiecki, Hana Nobis, Juliusz Chrząstowski, Krzysztof Zarzecki, Maciej Musiałowski, Michał Balicki, Michał Sikorski, Nel Kaczmarek, Olek Krupa, Patrik Vrbovský, Roman Gancarczyk, Zofia Kowalewska

Director: Maciej Bochniak

Beat for beat, word for word, Love is in the Air moves just like any other romantic comedy. Within that genre, it slots easily into the category of romcoms that follow a city guy who falls in love with a country girl, eventually learning and preferring the ways of small-town living. But Love in Air is even more improbable than usual because of how eerily perfect the two leads are. Goodrem, in particular, is always manicured to perfection, which makes her role as a down-to-earth no-nonsense go-getter very hard to believe. Still, the movie isn’t entirely unwatchable. There are pockets of humor to be found, and the stunning visuals almost make it worth the watch. Almost.  

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Craig Walker, Delta Goodrem, Hugh Parker, Joshua Sasse, Mia Grunwald, Roy Billing, Simon McLachlan, Steph Tisdell

Director: Adrian Powers

Rating: PG-13

Unfortunately, it isn't enough to have cartoonishly attractive people do silly things in the name of love for an entire feature film. This premise is undeniably fun at first: the pace is snappy, the locations are pretty, and there are more than a few intentional laughs buried within the film's fast-paced dialogue. But the longer Love Tactics 2 goes on, the more idiotic its characters seem and the more it feels like they don't actually deserve the love they supposedly earned in the previous movie. It greatly underestimates how frustrating it is to watch people fail to communicate over and over again, not out of any goodwill, but out of pure pride and jealousy. Sure, the leads provide plenty of eye candy, but after seeing how little they actually get to work with, watching them becomes an act of secondhand embarrassment.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Atakan Çelik, Bora Akkaş, Ceyhun Mengiroğlu, Demet Özdemir, Deniz Baydar, Hande Yılmaz, İpek Tuzcuoğlu, Kerem Atabeyoğlu, Melisa Döngel, Şükrü Özyıldız

Director: Recai Karagöz

Rating: PG-13

With uninteresting characters and an aggressively bland story right from the start, Choose Love fails to establish any stakes worth caring about, no matter what choices we make throughout. Any sense of novelty from playing this choose-your-own-romcom vanishes once you notice how certain decision points lead to the exact same idea, or are blatantly disregarded by the character you "control" anyway. Choice is a complete illusion here, and the fact that we're only asked to participate when it comes to some of the most inane dilemmas only highlights how the film's protagonist isn't acting like a rational, adult human being with any self-respect or regard for others. Sure, people are inherently flawed and it can be fun to see how disastrous this situation can get through our own manipulation, but by the end there's still no believable spark to be found. It feels like a cop-out no matter what.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Avan Jogia, Benjamin Hoetjes, Blair Strang, Jack Bright, Jacque Drew, Jesse Griffin, Jordi Webber, Laura Marano, Lucy Wigmore, Megan Smart, Nell Fisher, Scott Michael Foster

Director: Stuart McDonald

Christmas is a common setting for romance stories, because it’s obviously the best time to warm up… if you know what we mean. (Warm drinks, sweet treats, and snuggling with loved ones, of course.) Christmas as Usual seems to go along that vein, as Thea brings home her fiancé Jashan to meet the parents, and he tries to impress her family, as these family Christmas romances tend to go. This obviously brings about the relatable romantic troubles that anyone can empathize with, so it’s a bit of a shock when Thea’s Norwegian family treats Jashan so badly that it seems more insidious than good ol’ concern over their daughter. Had the story been approached with more sensitivity, Christmas as Usual would have been outstanding, but its current version never really questions the racism of the Norwegian family, or the passive way Thea just lets it all happen.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Ida Ursin-Holm, Jonas Strand Gravli, Kanan Gill, Mads Sjogard Pettersen, Marit Andreassen, Veslemøy Mørkrid

Director: Petter Holmsen