Cast: Alfred Molina, Elizabeth Peña, John Leguizamo, Freddy Rodriguez, Luis Guzmán, Vanessa Ferlito, Jay Hernández and Debra Messing
Director: Alfredo de Villa
Screenplay: Alison Swan and Rick Nájera
Christmas is here and the Rodríguez family, which lives in Chicago, begins to plan an all-out celebration with all the required elements: music, food, a few drinks and, mostly, that human warmth that Hispanics are known for.
The eldest son, Mauricio (John Leguizamo), comes to the house with his American wife, Sarah (Debra Messing), who makes her best effort to fit in the family culture. Jesse (Freddy Rodríguez), the youngest in the house, has just come back from the Iraq war. The daughter, Roxanna (Vanessa Ferlito), dreams of being an actress and shows off as a successful actress though she is far from being one. And though everything seems to be normal, what nobody knows is that the situation between the parents, Anna (Elizabeth Peña) and Edy (Alfred Molina), is extremely tense.
The woman thinks her husband, who owns a small grocery store, is cheating on her with an Asian woman, and just when dinner is ready on Christmas’ Eve, that bomb explodes. The mother declares in public that she wants to divorce her husband because he is cheating, and from that moment on all hell breaks loose and humor, drama and human nature mix perfectly to make the audience feel what’s happening as its own experience.
In the end, the family discovers that what Edy has is not a mistress but a serious illness that he had kept concealed to keep everyone from worrying about him, and that’s when the Rodríguezes realize that, despite their differences, love and family unity are strong enough to overcome all other obstacles.
This film has a story that fits the Christmas spirit to a tee. Beyond the plot that unfolds, it’s a story that strikes a chord with Hispanic families and shouts to the four winds that, if there is something that characterizes Hispanics, it’s the enormous strength of their love for family.