Valentine’s Day. New Year’s Eve. Christmas, via Love Actually. Plenty of cold-weather holidays have inspired lighthearted ensemble rom-coms featuring intertwining stories and scads of celebrities. So why not the Jewish Festival of Lights?
That’s where we come in. This year, EW decided to celebrate Hanukkah (which begins tonight at sundown) by imagining our ideal Hanukkah movie—starring a boatload of Jewish celebrities (appearing under their real names!) and directed, of course, by Garry Marshall.
Click below to see our movie’s im-poster, designed as always by Jef Castro—and to learn which boldface names Hillary Busis and Esther Zuckerman decided to pair up in the film. P.S. Mandy Patinkin cameos as the spirit of Judah Maccabee. You’re welcome.
Enterprising fashion reporter Sarah (Natalie Hershlag) has been assigned to write a profile of cocky Bram Baum (Aubrey Drake Graham), who runs an eponymous, high-profile but floundering fashion label. With Hanukkah approaching and his business in shambles, Bram has decided to launch a line of high-fashion yarmulkes in a last-ditch effort to stir up publicity. Initially, Sarah plans to write a vicious takedown piece—but while spending a day together on New York City’s Lower East Side, she finds herself being charmed by Bram. Will Sarah go through with her article—or will she end up inspiring Bram’s best yarmulke yet?
Rebecca (Katherine Litwack) is Sarah’s foul-mouthed, slacker younger sister, who’s paying the bills by working as a receptionist at the JCC. On the first night of Hanukkah—a Friday evening—she finds herself stuck in an elevator with investment banker Zac (Dave Franco)—the former AEPi pledge with whom Rebecca shared one night in college, but never spoke to again after finding out he was a Republican. Will sparks fly once the sun goes down—and the electricity goes off?
Fashion PR mogul Ruth (Winona Horowitz) and her partner Miriam (Natasha Lyonne Braunstein), Sarah’s editor, are planning the hottest wedding of the Hanukkah season—one that keeps getting derailed by a series of comic mishaps. (Somebody washed their snow-white chuppah with a red sock—and turned it pink!!) Can their love see them through, or will these nuptials be the opposite of a Hanukkah miracle?
Overwhelmed, Rachel (Alison Brie Schermerhorn)—the hottest kosher wedding caterer in New York City—decides to seek help from an old pal: Jake (Seth Rogen), her best friend from culinary school. While Rachel’s star has soared, Jake’s has crashed and burned; though he was one of their class’s most talented graduates, he’s since been reduced to running a dingy old-school deli, where he’s hounded daily by a Jewish Greek chorus of grumpy old man regulars: Saul (Mel Kaminsky), Solomon (Albert Einstein), Moses (Larry David), and Noah (Elliott Goldstein). Though Jake’s initially reluctant, he agrees to give Rachel a hand. Could their epic latke cook-off reveal feelings Jake and Rachel thought they’d put on the back-burner long ago?
Adam (Paul Rudd), Miriam’s consummate nice guy brother, finds himself instantly smitten when he meets a beautiful, French candle-seller named—seriously—Eve (Mélanie Laurent) the first night of Hanukkah. Can he win her heart—even though they don’t speak the same language?
Husband and wife writing team Golde (Rashida Jones) and Aaron (Jason Schwartzman) won a Tony for their last musical—but are now struggling to finish their follow-up project, 1948, a serious play about the creation of the Israeli state. Burned out, they decide to put the play aside and try to stretch their creative muscles by writing the JCC’s Hanukkah pageant—only to find that even that is a struggle. But everything could change when a vision of Judah Maccabee (Mandy Patinkin) comes to Aaron in a dream—and sings him an original Hanukkah ballad (written by Barbra Streisand) that’s destined to become an instant classic. But will Aaron remember the tune once he wakes up?
Rich, spoiled Hannah (Mila Kunis), the party girl daughter of New York City’s first-term mayor (Jeff Goldblum), finds herself utterly humiliated when she’s arrested for public intoxication on the first night of Hanukkah. After she refuses to get her father’s lawyers involved in her case, the state provides her with Jonah (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an idealistic young public defender (and another AEPi brother). Can Jonah help Hannah face her problems and learn, finally, how to grow up—even as Hannah helps goody-goody Jonah learn to let loose?
Leah (Scarlett Johansson), an investment banker who works with Zac, has a deep, dark secret: She yearns to leave the world of finance for the stage. On the night before Hanukkah, she sneaks into a piano bar and sings a soul-stirring jazz cover of “Sunrise, Sunset”—one that immediately catches the eye of Daniel (Andy Samberg), a waiter at the bar. Can he convince Leah to give up her job and follow her dreams—maybe by introducing her to Golde and Aaron, two of his best customers? And will Leah end up singing Judah Maccabee’s ballad in the JCC Hanukkah pageant in a stirring, climactic scene that unites every other character in this movie?
Find out in Garry Marshall’s Hanukkah—a star-studded affair that also includes cameos from Adam Levine, Kate Hudson, Jesse Eisenberg, Dianna Agron, Vanessa Bayer, Lenny Kravitz, Jason Segel, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Biggs (as a guy who everyone keeps assuming is Jewish), and, of course, Adam Sandler. Oy!