Movie Reviews

Bad Shabbos Cast & Director Talk Dysfunctional Families And The Art Of Comedy


  • Bad Shabbos
    explores a dysfunctional family dinner by going to thrilling and comedic extremes.
  • The cast of
    Bad Shabbos
    boasts a number of talented actors, including Kyra Sedgwick and Jon Bass.
  • The movie has received positive feedback for its hilarious script, talented cast, and fun, collaborative set atmosphere.

Bad Shabbos, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, takes the concept of a dysfunctional family sitting down for dinner to thrilling and comedic extremes. Directed by Daniel Robbins, who co-wrote the screenplay with Zack Weiner, the movie follows a modern Orthodox Jewish family preparing to meet the gentile parents of their eldest son’s gentile fiancée. Kyra Sedgwick (The Summer I Turned Pretty) spearheads the cast as neurotic matriarch Ellen, alongside David Paymer as her hapless husband Richard.

In addition to the aforementioned heavy hitters, Bad Shabbos boasts a delightful cast that includes Jon Bass as the groom-to-be, Meghan Leathers as his fiancee Meg, Milana Vayntrub as eldest daughter Abby, Ashley Zuckerman as her boyfriend Benjamin, and Theo Taplitz as the younger son Adam. Cliff “Method Man” Smith rounds out the ensemble as Jordan the overly invested doorman, with Catherine Curtin and John Bedford Lloyd dropping by as Meg’s eager-to-please parents.


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While at Tribeca, Screen Rant interviewed some of the stars of Bad Shabbos alongside writer-director Daniel Robbins about the atmosphere on set, the various dynamics at play onscreen, and other projects such as the already-classic Succession and upcoming SNL 1975 movie.

Milana Vayntrub Loves Bad Shabbos’ Hilarious Script & Squirrel Girl’s Heroic Attitude

Screen Rant: I really enjoyed Bad Shabbos, and I would love for you to tell me about Abby’s position in this very dysfunctional yet loving family.

Milana Vayntrub: Abby’s the only sister. She’s the only woman — except for Kyra Sedgwick, who plays my mom — which means that she’s got to hold s–t down. Which means that she’s got a schmuck brother on each side, and she’s got to tell them how to live! So, it’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s really fun.

I couldn’t help cracking up every other line while watching the movie. What was it like for you on set?

Milana Vayntrub: I’m so glad! Obviously, when we saw the script, we were like, “This is genius.” It’s so funny, and I think it’s [because of] the cast. And the director really gave us so much room to play in it and improvise and be lunatics. To be our weirdest, most clownish selves, and I think that freedom bred a lot of creativity.

I love your voice as Squirrel Girl, though we were robbed of a live-action version. Do we feel like it’s time for Doreen to be in the MCU? How can we make that happen?

Milana Vayntrub: If I knew how to make that happen, I would have made it happen! I think it’s actually quite logical. She’s an incredible superhero. I think of her as the female Deadpool; she’s really funny and sharp. And I like that she’s actually quite justice-driven. She’s not just like, “Hey, lock ’em up!” She’s like, “Reparation! Let’s fix this.”

She’s just got a great attitude, good friends, and great sidekicks. Let’s do it! Squirrel sidekicks!

Source: Screen Rant Plus

Meghan Leathers Embraces Bad Shabbos & Dodges For All Mankind Return

Screen Rant: What does Meg like so much about this very dysfunctional family? Why does she want to join it?

Meghan Leathers: I mean, that’s the thing about dysfunctional families. They’re fun, they’re funny, and they’re vibrant, and they’re loud. They’re messy, and it’s a good time. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this family? They’re hilarious.

You get to be opposite Kyra Sedgwick often, though it’s a somewhat adversarial relationship. Can you talk about that dynamic and working with her on set?

Meghan Leathers: It was the best because it’s adversarial on screen, but behind the camera, it was collaboration and generosity on her mind. She’s the best scene partner, and it was fun and special. And what an opportunity for me!

What would you yourself do if you were in that situation at that Shabbos dinner?

Meghan Leathers: Hiding a dead body? I don’t know! Probably run away. Run away as fast as I can with the challah in tow in my bag because I would need it for emotional eating. You need it after that experience.

You played a very pivotal role in For All Mankind, and I for one would love to see Pam again. Is this possible she’ll be back in season 5?

Meghan Leathers: I don’t know… [Laughs]

Source: Screen Rant Plus

Ashley Zukerman Praises Bad Shabbos’ Casting & Ponders Succession’s Recipe For Success

Screen Rant: I had so much fun with Bad Shabbos. What was it that first excited you about the script?

Ashley Zukerman: I think I just really love these sorts of [movies]. It lives in a genre of film that’s got that ’90s comedy feel, but it’s set now. It’s like we’ve used the language of filmmaking over the last 20 years and made the film more nuanced and more current. I loved, and I also found there was something very interesting about the nuance that made it a very smart version of these films.

It seems like a very loving yet dysfunctional family. And yet your character, Ben, would very much not like to be there. Can you talk about his precarious position?

Ashley Zukerman: Yeah. I’d say all families are unique and sometimes, when you visit your friend’s family… It’s hard to not give anything away, but I’d say that the characters have a little screw loose. They all have something going on under the surface, which is why it makes for a beautiful film.

And I’d say that about the cast as well. Daniel cast it so well; everyone’s just a little shaky and a little off.

I found myself cracking up throughout the movie, and I wonder if you guys were cracking up on set. Do you ever break during a take?

Ashley Zukerman: Yeah, and I’m typically very bad at that. I don’t usually go off at all, but I found on this one that we were laughing a lot with everyone else. It’s a very special group, and it was really fun.

You recently had the honor of being on a very beloved show, Succession, though your character was perhaps somewhat hated. What was that experience like?

Ashley Zukerman: Isn’t that funny? In that group of people, for my character to be the one that hated! It was so special. I mean, I love the show. I was a fan as much as I was in it. I still think about, “What were the magical ingredients that made that show special?” And there were many. There were really many.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

Catherine Curtin Talks Improv In Bad Shabbos & Hypes SNL 1975

Screen Rant: When your character comes into Bad Shabbos, I imagine it’s quite a culture shock for many reasons. Can you talk about her experience?

Catherine Curtin: I think it’s a shock, especially for her. I’m a native New Yorker, so I have so wonderful memories and experiences of people having me to Passover dinners. That’s actually one of my personal favorites because at Passover dinner, if someone comes to your door, you have to let them in and they have to sit down and share with you. And just the notion of that is so beautiful. The notion that a family would join together every week to do this is something I think we could all be reminded of. I love the fact that this is a comedy, and there’s so much joy and so much love, and it is ridiculous.

I love this movie, and this character that I play is from the Midwest, and she maybe doesn’t have my New York thing of “Been there, done that.” But I think she’s just willing to [adjust]. This is her daughter, so she’s willing to be like, “Great, great.” Anyway, I was so glad to do this film, and I think we really need comedy. I think comedy is one of the most valuable and important and notable achievements of humankind.

There are quite a few bits of physical comedy in your segment. How do you guys keep a straight face and be affronted instead of cracking up?

Catherine Curtin: Yeah, we did crack up. You do crack up, and then you come back and people come in with quips and lines and improvs,e and it gets really fun and loose. Then it comes back together. It’s like, “Okay, pull that back together.” But it was a really lovely, joyous, relaxed, warm, kind, and generous set to be on — much like I assume a beautiful Shabbas dinner is.

You’re also going to be in SNL 1975. Tell me all the things; I’m so excited.

Catherine Curtin: It’s wonderful. It’s excellent. It’s amazing, and I think it’s genius. That’s what I’ve got to say.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

Bad Shabbos Director Daniel Robbins Praises Kyra Sedgwick’s Know-How

Screen Rant: What was the inspiration for Bad Shabbos?

Daniel Robbins: The inspiration for this was that I grew up Modern Orthodox Jewish. I feel like Jewish content hasn’t shown this section of Judaism; the kind that interacts with the secular world, but also keeps their traditions very seriously. I thought if we could show that authentically, and the energy of what one of those households could like, and get that onscreen with a break-neck plot? This coule ad movie that I would love, and hopefully it radiates out.

How early on did you want Kyra Sedgwick as the matriarch? How did this happen?

Daniel Robbins: It’s crazy that she’s doing this, right? She’s right here; you can look at her! The casting director, [producer] Adam Mitchell, and I agreed she would be the best choice. Then we thought, “Okay, we’ll go down from there once she says no,” but she read it and really saw merit to the piece and why it could be great, and she just had belief in me and Adam the project.

Once she signs on, who’s not gonna do this movie? She also had a few notes that just elevated the script to a new level. She has this one monologue, and you’ll see it in the movie. But she also directs and produces, so she understands every aspect.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

Check out our other Bad Shabbos interview with Daniel Robbins, Kyra Sedgwick, and Cliff “Method Man” Smith, as well.

Bad Shabbos

premiered on June 10 at Tribeca Film Festival and is currently seeking distribution.

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