The plot follows Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara), a 30-year-veteran of Hollywood who has yet to catch a break. She is able to land the lead role in Home For Purim, playing the dying matriarch of a Southern Jewish family in the 1940s. Also joining her are Victor Allen Miller (Harry Shearer), a former stage actor who has been reduced to doing commercial voice-overs, playing her husband; Callie Webb (Parker Posey) an off-Broadway comedienne, playing her recently out daughter; and newcomer Brian Chubb (Christopher Moynihan) as her son, home from the Navy.
Despite a highly eccentric and demanding director (Guest) and a producer (Jennifer Coolidge) whose only contribution is that she can write checks, awards buzz begins to surround the movie, with Marilyn and Callie's names being considered for Best Actress, while Victor is supposedly being considered for Best Actor. All three soon begin to develop egos, and take great pride in knowing that they will soon be Academy Award nominees. When the nominations are formally announced, however, only Brian, who has received next to no attention, has been nominated for an award, for Best Supporting Actor. The other three quietly return to their mundane careers.
Tropes associated with the work:
- Ambiguously Brown: Parodied. Even though he looks completely white, Corey Taft (John Michael Higgins) insists that he is in-fact 1/8th Native American ("mighty Choctaw!")
- Artistic License Religion: Parodied: The in-universe writers are admittedly unfamiliar with Jewish tradition. It shows.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: In-universe. In her entire career, Marilyn's most memorable was playing a blind prostitute decades ago.
- Kick the Dog: After Marilyn, Victor, and Callie learn that they weren't nominated after all the hype, Fred Willard's character interviews them live to get their reactions.
- Misaimed Marketing: In-universe (parodied). Not wanting to deter Gentile audiences from seeing a "Jewish" movie, halfway through production, the film is retitled Home for Thanksgiving, despite the plot remaining the same.
- Never Live It Down: In-universe. Despite being a respected stage veteran for 40 years, all that most people remember of Victor was playing a tv-pitchman for kosher hotdogs early in his career.
- Oscar Bait: Home for Thanksgiving, as well as the period piece Pride of Plymouth Rock.
- Posters Always Lie: A working poster for the film is a Norman Rockwell-esque painting featuring an obviously Jewish family dinner. Executive Meddling changes it to something more ambiguous.
- Small Name, Big Ego: None of the actors has exactly amounted to much over their careers, but their opinions of themselves swell dramatically the more the rumour that one of them might win an Oscar spreads.
- Spiritual Successor: To Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind.