A young soldier who comes back from his tour to Iraq has to deal with his dysfunctional family. Freddy Rodriguez plays the lead character of Jesse Rodriguez. He comes back from a tour to Iraq to return to his family in Chicago, arriving during the holidays. His father Edy (played by Alfred Molina) runs a small store which Freddy is supposed to take over and run, which is why he came back home.
The family all gets together for Christmas dinner. Jesse's cousins, Johnny (played by Luis Guzman) and Ozzy (played by Jay Hernandez), are there. His sister Roxanna (played by Vanessa Ferlito), who is trying to become an actor, visits from Hollywood. His brother, Mauricio (played by John Leguizamo) brings his wife Sarah (played by Debra Messing). Marissa (played by Melonie Diaz), her son, and her boyfriend Fernando (played by Ramses Jimenez) arrive soon after. Marissa is both Roxana's best friend and Jesse's ex-girlfriend.
Everyone seems to be enjoying all, but there is something uncomfortable, going on between Jesse's father Edy and Jesse's mother Anna (played by Elizabeth Peña). Anna thinks that Edy has been cheating on her. When Edy gets a telephone call, that interrupts the Christmas dinner, she snaps. Anna blurts out to everyone; they are getting a divorce. The mood turns suddenly somber, as no one can believe it. Then they all get into a big argument.
The next day Jesse tells Marissa that he should have died in Iraq. Even though he was injured; if he had not changed shifts with another soldier, he would have been killed. This now makes him feel guilty about it. He tells her he is sorry about everything and she accepts it. Mauricio invites the catholic priest, Father Torres (played by Manny Sosa) over to help patch up things between his parents. Ozzy sees the guy that killed his brother has gotten out of prison, which infuriates him. He makes plans to kill him. Sarah learns that Edy has cancer, but Edy makes her promise not to tell anyone until after the holidays are over.
Ozzy confronts the guy that killed his brother, but at the last moment decides not to shoot him. Jesse tries to get back with Marissa, which causes him to fight with her boyfriend Fernando. Edy tries to pull down a tree using a rope tied to the car bumper, but the bumper comes off and Edy smashes the car. When they take Edy to the hospital, they all find out how sick he really is. This explains his odd behavior and all those telephone calls. Anna and Edy reconcile and decide to stay together. Roxanna turns down a part when her casting agent calls her, preferring to stay for a while longer to help her parents. Marissa makes it clear she is happy with Fernando. Jesse is happy for her. Jesse takes over the store helping his father.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is interesting that at first during the Christmas dinner, everything seems quite nice, until all the troubles come out.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene when the father is trying to pull the tree down using the car, because you just know it is going to be a disaster and it helps reveal what is really going on.
Opinion about the main character:
Jesse is a good person who loves his family and that is very admirable.