Reporter Judah (Adam Sandler) has eight nights to complete a think-piece for his online news outlet about how Jews should embrace and participate in innocuous Christmas traditions such as stringing lights, decorating trees, and going to church a little bit.
For research, he visits his father, the heavy-handedly named Mattiyahu (a hologram of Marlon Brando), an observant Jew who retired in Sugar Plum, the town voted #1 in Christmas spirit. Over a mournful violin solo, Mattiyahu monologizes about the ancestors who fought for Judah’s right to celebrate a minor holiday where he gets eight presents. Or maybe one big one. Depends.
Angry only because he needs to get hurt in the next scene, Judah storms out to the town square, slipping and hitting his head. When he comes to, Judah is somehow in ancient Judea fighting for religious freedom alongside the Maccabees. When he hits his head again in battle, he awakes in Sugar Plum with a whole new perspective on Hanukkah.
But the real miracle of the holiday would be if this movie avoids making an “I love the smell of sufganiyot in the morning” joke.