Ray (Olin), a painter, is set to marry Patty (Webb), who owns her own hair salon, but he's having second thoughts. Meanwhile, Al (Mantegna), his cousin, who owns a fishery, is happily married, or so he thinks, to Carla (Fiorentino), but when he shows up several hours late for their anniversary, she cold-cocks him and leaves him, taking their kids with her. During that weekend, as Ray and Al's friends, including Vinnie (Spiridakis), an actor, Dennis (Bacon), a musician, and Eliot (Malkovich), who owns the fishery with Al, gather to prepare for Ray's wedding or not-wedding, there's plenty of soul-searching and laughter from everyone.
Though it didn't get much of a theatrical release (and was released straight-to-DVD in countries such as Britain and Canada), it has gained a small cult following thanks to its cast.
This film contains examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: After The Reveal (see below), everyone is startled, except Dennis, who laughs hysterically.
- All Men Are Perverts: Al, Dennis and Vinnie definitely fall into this category (though Al later subverts this when he turns down an invitation from a girl in the men's bathroom at a club, and stops Ray from taking her up on it).Al: (sing-song) There's a monster in my pants! And it makes me want to dance!
- And I'm the Queen of Sheba: When Al comes across a young woman in a bar who claims she's over 21, Al says, "And I'm Humpty Dumpty!"
- Ax-Crazy: Grace at first seems like she's going to be a straight version of this trope, but she ultimately subverts it; she's just trying to teach Al a lesson.
- Berserk Button: While Al is volatile, he especially gets pissed when he sees Joey Clams, or his nephew, around. Becomes a Brick Joke later.
- Carla also does not appreciate being stood up for several hours on her anniversary.
- Big Applesauce: Mostly set in Queens, though parts of it are also set in Manhattan.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Al's attempts to apologize to Carla at first:Al: Carla.Carla: What?Al: Come on.Carla: Come on what?Al: Okay.Carla: Okay what?Al: Okay.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Monty.Patty: The guy buys a new Monte Carlo every year cause his name's Monty.
- Deadpan Snarker: Elliot.
- Driven to Suicide: Dennis tells the story of Arnold (the only other one to climb the Hellgate bridge besides Al), a kid they paid to kiss things (such as dog shit), and who, upset at becoming weird as a result, climbed the bridge and jumped off, killing himself. Near the end of the movie, Al leaves a message indicating he's going to climb the bridge again, and Ray believes Al is going to kill himself, but it turns out to be an aversion.
- '80s Hair: While driving around during the opening credits, Al comes across a woman with this, and can't resist commenting:Al: You don't know me, and I don't know you, so let's cut to the chase, shall we? Your hair! Hey, I'm just trying to be honest here! I don't know if it's a wig, or what, but I can work with that!Woman: (chuckling) Go away, Al, before I do you with my hairspray.Al: Hey, I'll come back later with some hedge clippers; we'll do a sexy hair-cutting thing!
- Flipping the Bird: During that same drive during the opening credits, Al comes upon a woman he finds attractive, and starts flirting with her. Her response is to flip him off.
- Flushing Toilet, Screaming Shower: When Patty thinks Ray is going to leave her at the altar, she flushes the toilet while he's in the shower, and slams the door for good measure. Ray, of course, yells.
- Funny Answering Machine: Vinnie thinks it is, anyway; he imitates Marlon Brando's famous speech from On the Waterfront for his message. Neither Al nor Eliot think it's funny.
- Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: Carla steals everyone's clothes while they're swimming in a public pool at night. Typically, Al doesn't mind, but the others can't wait to get back to his car to cover themselves.Carla: (to Patty, as she walks into her apartment with all the clothes) Burn these.Patty: Where are the bodies?
- Large Ham: Al, all the way. Lampshaded by him later.Al: "Al, you're not a fish monger, you're a lounge act!"
- Leitmotif: When Al first climbs the Hellgate Bridge, we hear Louis Armstrong's version of "World on a String", and we see Al singing it as well. When Al tries to climb it again, he sings it again.
- Manchild: Al, to an extant.Carla: I didn't adopt you, Al. I married you.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Before the credits, we see Al as a teen climbing the Hellgate Bridge, while the younger versions of Carla, Dennis, Patty, Ray, and Vinnie watch and cheer him on. This also serves as a Brick Joke and Chekhov's Gun, as Al attempts to climb the bridge again near the end of the movie.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In playing Cecil, Todd Field, a California native, plays a Nu Yawker pretending to be British. The British accent he actually handles pretty well. The New York accent, on the other hand...
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Dennis, as referenced in Actor Allusion. Averted with Al:Grace: (as hip-hop music plays) Got stress, huh?Al: Who wouldn't? This music would make Will Rogers punch a nun!
- The Reveal: A man associated with Joey Clams, a rival of Al's whom he hates, is following Al around. At the bachelor party that isn't, when Al sees the man, he goes berserk, pulls a gun on the man, and asks what he wants. Turns out the man is Joey Clams' nephew, and was sent to film Ray and Patty's wedding.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: When Patty claims Ray is setting off her shit detector and that sirens are going off, she makes siren noises.
- Shout-Out: Al at one point sings "The Good Life" by Tony Bennett, and imitates him as well.
- Starving Artist: Averted with Ray - not only does he seem to make a good living on his paintings, but Patty owning her own business gives him a cushion - but, as we find out later, played straight with Dennis.
- Straight Gay: Eliot. As he explains to Vinnie, while he's gay, he doesn't like other gay men, and proves it by rejecting the advances of one. Later, however, it's implied he's getting together with Marty.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: The teenage Al sings part of Louis Armstrong's "I've Got the World on a String" while climbing the rope on the Hellgate Bridge, and the older Al sings Tony Bennett's "The Good Life".
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Vinnie brings home a date, and in the midst of them kissing each other, she pushes him away and says, "bathroom". Vinnie, of course, thinks she wants to have sex in the bathroom, so he follows her, only to find her vomiting in the toilet.
Al: Oh, Vin, you must have scored big at happy hour!
- What makes the scene funny is this whole time, Al has been leaving a long message for Vinnie, and when Vinnie picks up the phone in the bathroom, Al (and Eliot, who's in the office with him) can hear her. Of course, Al can't resist commenting.
- Waxing Lyrical: When Eliot is greeting people as they enter Ray's bachelor party that isn't, he says, "This ain't no bachelor party, this ain't no disco."
- Your Cheating Heart: Averted; while Ray does become attracted to a woman at his not-bachelor party, and Patty walks in on them when she's lying next to him, nothing happens.
- Similarly, earlier in the film, Dennis confesses his feelings to Patty, but she kindly but firmly rebuffs him, and even after she walks in on Ray and the other woman, and Dennis comforts her about it, neither of them take the next step.
- And Carla thinks this about Al when he leaves the party with Grace, but it's averted there as well.