Barmitzvah is no laughing matter

THERE’S never been a great, definitive American film about a barmitzvah. And after Donny’s Bar Mitzvah, there still hasn’t been.

The film, directed by Jonathan Kaufman (referred to in the media notes as ‘Jonny Comebacks’), is an indie comedy set entirely during the barmitzvah party of Donny Drucker (played by Steele Stebbins), a boy from a highly dysfunctional family, in 1998 Michigan.

It’s something of a festival of raunch — of a sexual as well as a bodily fluid nature — full of gags and running jokes that fail much more often than they succeed.

Donny’s Bar Mitzvah is mostly an homage to the comedy cinema of the 1990s. This includes both the gag-a-minute sensibility of the Naked Gun series and other such films that reigned in the early part of the decade, and the extreme raunch of comedies such as There’s Something About Mary and American Pie at the tail end.

In keeping with the period setting, the film is meant to look like a barmitzvah video from 1998, having the appearance of being shot on VHS with a camcorder, complete with a 1:33-1 aspect ratio.

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