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Rated PG-13 · 2008
My pleasure in seeing Chicago's underexposed Humboldt Park neighborhood onscreen was gradually overcome by this indie drama's clichéd treatment of a dysfunctional family reunion. In the warm but fractious Rodriguez clan, the adult children gathering for Christmas include an aspiring actress who's anxious to keep her failures secret (Vanessa Ferlito), a successful businessman (John Leguizamo) with a trophy wife (Debra Messing), and a battle-fatigued soldier home from Iraq (Freddy Rodriguez). Alfred Molina plays the father, a bodega owner whose wandering eye incurs the wrath of his long-suffering spouse (Elizabeth Peña). The cast, including Luis Guzman and Jay Hernandez, is strong and attractive but ultimately hamstrung by artificial situations and a hackneyed ending. Alfredo De Villa directed (99 min.).

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Nothing Like the Holidays

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