Strait-laced Rose breaks off relations with her party girl sister, Maggie, over an indiscretion involving Rose's boyfriend. The chilly atmosphere is broken with the arrival of Ella, the grandmother neither sister knew existed.
In toney Brentwood, Benjamin Fiedler prepares for his bar mitzvah; trouble is, he understands neither its meaning nor the Hebrew, and his parents (particularly his successful-agent father) are planning the most lavish party possible. Benjamin wants his dad to give him some space, so he gets an idea: to invite his grandfather, who left the family years ago and for whom Benjamin's dad has an intense dislike, to come two weeks early. Thanks in part to grandpa - and to the immediate family's love - Benjamin may have a shot at figuring out what it means to be a man.Written by
This endearing movie is a coming of age film in an upper upper middle class family in a Jewish neighborhood in LA. Meet Benjamin Fiedler (Daryl Sabara) age 13. Ben has reached the age where he undergoes the bar mitzvahs ritual to mark the entrée to adulthood. Of course his friend Zachary Stein (Carter Jenkins)who precedes Ben warns "this doesn't mean you can drink or drive a car.
The Stern family threw a lavish affair with a movie theme based upon the Titanic. Ben's dad Adam Fielder decides the Fielders must outdo the splendor of the Sterns by renting out Dodger Stadium. Adam Fielder (Jeremy Piven) is not a little sore that his own bar mitzvahs was a subdued affair and that his father Irwin Fiedler (Garry Marshall) deserted the family.
Religion and the meaning of the rite has taken a back seat to the planning of an extravagant event. Enter grandpa Irwin who arrives a week early. As Dad bristles with a contempt grandma Rose (Doris Roberts) cannot bring herself to bear, grandpa with his ding-a-ling left-over hippie girlfriend Sacred Feather sets up his rusty RV on the driveway depreciating the property values.
Can Ben and Grandpa Irwin set the ceremony back on track?
There is an excellent performance of Richard Benjamin as Rabbi Schulberg.
While there is a gratuitous nudie scene when grandpa goes skinny dipping in the Fielder's pool with Sacred Feather, the film is excellent family comedy which speaks to a universal theme, the importance of simplicity and the eloquence of understatement. It is too bad more films are not made in this spirit.
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