Originally entitled “Humboldt Park,” the movie “Nothing Like The Holidays” comes to theaters just in time for, well, the holidays. There was a title change came because of the release of a September 2008 movie release, and the confusion that would arise with both movies competing in theaters. Imagine the horrors that would occur at the movie box office at theaters playing both movies. Or the looks on the faces of mom and dad who bought a ticket to the R-rated instead of the PG-13-rated “Humboldt Park” and had to explain to little Sara and David what all the pot smoking, nudity and sexual situations were about.
If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that family time isn’t always a walk in the park, even if the name of that park, “Humboldt Park,” had to be taken off the movie poster.
In the movie “Nothing Like The Holidays,” it’s Christmastime and the far-flung members of the Rodriguez family are converging at their parents’ home in Chicago to celebrate the season and rejoice in their youngest brother’s safe return from combat overseas. For Jesse (Freddy Rodriguez), coming home has rekindled feelings for an old flame, although she can’t seem to forgive him for leaving. His older sister Roxanna, a struggling actress, has been chasing her Hollywood dreams for years with little to show for it. And much to the dismay of their mother Anna (Elizabeth Peña), eldest brother Mauricio (John Leguizamo) brings home a high-powered executive wife (Debra Messing) who would rather raise capital than a child.
In the course of one eventful week, traditions will be celebrated, secrets revealed and major life decisions made. It all begins when Anna announces to her children she is divorcing their father Eduardo (Alfred Molina). The shock waves from this familial upheaval prompt Roxanna, Mauricio and Jesse, each in their own way, to reevaluate the past and rethink the future. But when the Rodriguezes learn that one of their own is facing a true crisis, they instinctively pull together: Old resentments are forgotten, familial bonds are re-affirmed and the healing power of laughter works its magic as the family discovers they are much stronger than they ever realized.