Halle Berry had to drop out of New Year’s Eve so she could devote all her energy to taking down her baby father. Her replacement is Katherine Heigl. It’s amazing to me that Heigl wasn’t involved in this from the beginning, that she wasn’t in Valentine’s Day either. How is it that she also wasn’t in She’s Just Not That Into You? Or was she? Even if she wasn’t, it feels like she was.
New Year’s Eve is just like the others, except that it’s trying to be Love Actually on, surprise!, New Year’s Eve. But not Chinese New Year’s Eve, though the idea of Hollywood making a movie about Chinese New Year’s Eve with an 85% white cast is actually not as farfetched as it sounds.
Let’s take a stab at this pitch:
Jane Callahan (played by Katherine Heigl) works out of her house. She runs her own organic food company. Everyone knows Jane. She’s the neighbourhood favourite. She bakes cookies and casseroles for all her neighbours and they all want to know why she’s single, but Jane got out a bad relationship with her ex-boyfriend Matt last year. She was devoted to him, but he ultimately left because a 20 year old came along and gave him a blowjob in his car, just as Jane was walking by.
One day, Jane develops a new recipe. It’s going to be life-changing. It’s called the Commitment Cake, not only delicious, but every one of her friends who’s tried it has immediately hooked up for marriage. In order to start selling it, Jane has to get it passed by the health food inspection people.
Wilson Wong is a health food inspector. He loves biology and science, wears glasses, and drives badly because he has no peripheral vision. We know this because we meet Wilson behind the wheel of his Toyota Camry, driving to Jane’s to inspect her food. He eats Commitment Cake. They fall in love.
She meets his family. Cue jokes about the white girl. Cue ching chong montage of Jane acclimating to Chinese customs. Cue judgy Chinese mom telling Jane she’s not good enough because she doesn’t own an abacus. Jane explodes, and in a fit of rage, knocks over the display case – the one guarded by the ceramic cat with the fist pump that you see at your local Chinese restaurant – containing the ashes of Wilson’s grandfather.
She is expelled.
Jane knows the only way she can make it up to Wilson is to do something really great for him for Chinese New Year. She enlists the help of all her friends – Alex, Sam, and Joan (played by Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, and Kristen Wiig) and endeavours to get Chinafied in three weeks. The three of them spend 30 minutes crash-coursing Chinese-ness. Hi-jinks happen. At some point, she has to eat chicken feet at dimsum, etc.
Jane shows up at the house on Chinese New Year’s Eve. She is rejected. She goes to the Chinese temple and meets an old lady. She interrupts the old lady’s meditation with her crying. The old lady comforts her and tells her a story about the Moon and the Old China Village where the Wise Men used to do Yoga. Jane is enlightened. There’s a commotion behind her. It’s Wilson’s family who’ve come to temple. And it turns out the old lady is Wilson’s grandma who tells Wilson if he doesn’t marry Jane the gods of a thousand China dynasties will curse him forever. Credits during the wedding. Commitment Cake is served at the Chinese banquet. Kristen Wiig’s character catches the bouquet (yes, Chinese people do this too), and when she gets up off the floor, she locks eyes with Will’s pervy Chinese uncle. The end.
PS. I really like the colour of Heigl’s rubber boots.
Photos from Jackson Lee/Splashnewsonline.com