THERE WAS NOTHING WORSE THEN TO have two parties scheduled on the same day when we were in eighth grade. The party with the fewer attendees would be deemed the lame party a/k/a uncool. We were the “top dogs” of the school, with it being our last year there, and felt nearly invincible. However, there was one thing that could depose your status faster than a lightning bolt; it was the loss of your “cool factor.” I was lucky I never had to worry about this because I was never considered cool. And from what I witnessed amongst the other students; I was glad about it. There were several girls who were part of a clique who felt it was their mission to tell the other students when they were out of fashion. Even if you did not have a decent haircut or style, they would make sure you knew, and do it when other students were around to hear it. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, if a student did not excel in sports, then they sure better be good at something else unless they wanted to get picked on. The students with the highest grades got a free pass for the most part; however, if you were not so smart, you needed to be a great musician, artist, debater, or something else that would make you stand out. Even being the president of the chess club could help you but honestly, not that much compared to an athlete on one of the sports teams. DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR THERE was a large amount of bar mitzvah parties. I remember my friend making me promise I would be coming to his party. It seemed odd to me since I had already sent back my RSVP card, but I figured there was some important number they needed for some reason. When I arrived at the temple for the services, I discovered there was another boy there from school for his bar mitzvah. He and my friend were going to share in the participation of the services. It then hit me; my friend was concerned more of the kids from our class might attend the other kid’s affair. I felt bad for my friend because the other boy was on the tennis team. Would that really make a difference I wondered. That evening at the party, I made a mental note to see if there were any empty seats around the dining tables when it was time to eat. As far as I could tell my friend came out okay; it looked like a full party. Looking back at those years, it seemed like such a rite of passage for us. Sort of like what was taking place in this musical, comedic family drama. EVERYTHING WAS FALLING INTO PLACE FOR Evan’s, played by Eli Golden (Hide and Seek, Trouble), upcoming bar mitzvah party. That is until his mother told him they were moving out of state. With Josh Peck (Red Dawn, Mean Creek) as Rabbi, Debra Messing (Searching, Will & Grace-TV) as Jessica, Peter Hermann (United 93, Philomena) as Joel and Rhea Perlman (Matilda, I’ll See You in My Dreams) as Ruth; this film was heavy on the musical numbers. They were fun and high energy, but there was an oddness to them. They were meant more to be done on a large stage. Maybe due to the directing, but there was a disconnect between them and the scenes that were more emotional. I do not know if it were due to my school experiences, but there was a familiarity to the story that made the characters more like stereotypes, to the point I could tell what was going to happen. And this is why I thought the acting was nothing special. In fact, pretty much bland. At least, there was an honesty to the script which I appreciated. It was funny, here I thought my school had its own unique issues; but with this film it looks like there were a lot of other kids who had to deal with such social status issues.