Keeping Up with the Steins

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Keeping Up with the Steins
Keeping up with the steins.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Scott Marshall
Produced by A.D. Oppenheim
Written by Mark Zakarin
Starring Daryl Sabara
Jami Gertz
Jeremy Piven
Larry Miller
Sandra Taylor
Carter Jenkins
Miranda Cosgrove
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Charles Minsky
Edited by Tara Timpone
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) May 12, 2006 (2006-05-12)
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Hebrew
Budget $5 million
Box office $4,409,373

Keeping Up with the Steins is a 2006 comedy film directed by Scott Marshall, and starring Garry Marshall, Jeremy Piven, Jami Gertz and Daryl Hannah. The film is also a commentary on how too many Jewish families see a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah not as a coming of age for their son or daughter, but rather as an excuse to throw outrageously lavish parties.

Plot[edit]

Benjamin Fiedler (Daryl Sabara) is the 13-year-old son of Jewish couple Adam and Joanne Fiedler (Jeremy Piven and Jami Gertz). After attending the elaborate bar mitzvah party for the son of Arnie Stein (Larry Miller) - which was done on a cruise ship, with a Titanic theme - Benjamin's parents decide to go all out for his bar mitzvah. The plan is to rent Dodger Stadium for the bar mitzvah party, complete with movie stars and everything. Adam even books Neil Diamond to sing the National Anthem. However, Benjamin does not want to go through with it, as he does not even understand the words of the haftorah he has to read as part of his bar mitzvah rite. To try to stall the planning, he secretly invites his grandfather Irwin (Garry Marshall), who is now living on an Indian reservation with a New Age woman named Sacred Feather (Daryl Hannah). When Benjamin's grandfather arrives, it puts a kink in the planning - as Irwin had a falling out with his son Adam, both for having left Adam when he was a teenager, and for Adam's own humiliating bar mitzvah. Irwin must then pull off somehow reconciling with his son while helping his grandson deal with the question of what it means to be a "man."

Now appreciating his bar mitzvah not as an excuse to throw a party but rather as a rite of passage in his Jewish life, Benjamin gets up the courage to tell his parents to call off the over-the-top bash they had planned. After he does very well at the service the party is just a casual backyard affair with lunch, a klezmer band (with a guest-star singer and guitarist, as Adam "couldn't cancel Neil Diamond") and lots of family and friends.

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

  • The working title for this movie was "Lucky 13".
  • While shooting this movie, Daryl Sabara was also studying for his own Bar Mitzvah. The Haftorah portion that his character chants in the movie was Sabara's actual Bar Mitzvah portion.
  • DJ Quik makes a cameo as himself as the rapper at the Stein's Bar Mitzvah, which is one of many things that makes Jeremy Piven's character jealous. In episode 10 in the second season of "Entourage" (titled "The Bat Mitzvah"), DJ Quik makes a cameo as himself as the deejay at Piven's daughter's Bat Mitzvah.
  • Congregation Ari-El, the synagogue where Daryl Sabara's character is to have his Bar Mitzvah, which is shown on an exterior shot, is a real synagogue in Studio City and was founded by members of the movie industry. It has an Ark (where the scrolls of the Torah are kept) built by Jewish carpenters working for Warner Brothers that was originally used on a movie set, and installed in the synagogue after the movie was completed.

Pop culture references[edit]

  • Titanic - Zach appears at the front of a mock Titanic boat with his arms spread out and a girl behind him and says he's the "king of the Torah!"
  • The Passion of the Christ - A rabbi says he wrote a book called "The Passion of the Jew".
  • The Graduate - A kid (also named Benjamin) jumps in a pool to escape his dad and grandpa's arguing, but they see him and think he's drowning.
  • Kill Bill - It is mentioned that Zach wanted a movie theme, but his parents wouldn't go for Kill Bill. Daryl Hannah, who plays Sacred Feather, also starred in that movie.

Reception[edit]

The film scored 36% at Rotten Tomatoes, making it "rotten." Criticism generally focused on the film's tendency towards melodrama, and that the material was better suited for a sitcom on television than for a motion picture.

External links[edit]