Friday, December 12, 2008

This film will become a Christmas classic, at least in the Latino community. You laugh then you cry then you laugh. The chainsaw scene alone is worth the price of admission. In so many ways this film reminded me of my family. Debra Messing asks John Leguizamo why everyone is arguing with one another at the dinner table. He responds with, this is just how we talk to each other. It is kind of like that way in large families. To be heard you have to be loud.

Freddie Rodriguez returns from Iraq in time for a family Christmas reunion. Like in any normal family he faces a dysfunctional family with each member facing their own secrets and problems. His job is to find his place outside of war. At the first family dinner the mother, played by Elizabeth Peña, decides she will announce she is divorcing the father, played by Alfred Molina.

Debra Messing as John Leguizamo’s wife desperately tries to please her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Peña. The relationship finally develops in a very heart warming way, but not before Elizabeth Peña takes a couple of swipes at Debra Messing in Spanish. Very, very funny.

What I liked most about this film was its sense of reality. Families are not perfect - but somehow the problems and colorful characters who make up families are what family is really about. I am one of 12 children. My life would have so much less colorful and meaningful without each and every one of my siblings. Are we all hopefully dysfunctional? Yes and our family motto is "Hopefully dysfunctional and proud of it." How boring it must be to be perfect.

What I liked least about this film is the moron pig who planted his seed in the woman who chose to show up with her 4 rude and ill mannered Rugrats. They ran up and down the stairs the entire movie. They sang Christmas songs. They banged on the wall. The mother of course found all of this to be normal and made no attempt to correct her children.

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