It stars James Gandolfini and Susan Sarandon as Nick and Kitty Murder, a working-class New York couple living with their adult daughters Baby (Mandy Moore), Constance (Mary-Louise Parker), and Rosebud (Aida Turturro). Nick is discovered to be having an affair with Tula (Kate Winslet), turning his family against him and forcing them — and everyone else in their neighborhood, including Nick's coworker Angelo (Steve Buscemi) and Kitty's cousin Bo (Christopher Walken) — to confront their issues with sex, love, marriage, and family. Generally in song form.
This film provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Disorder: Rosebud is clearly older than her adoptive sisters but acts like she's the youngest. She regularly sees a psychiatrist, and says she "did not begin right" and doesn't remember ever being well.
- Breaking the Cycle of Bad Parenting: Nick is convinced to end his affair with Tula and try to reconcile with Kitty when his mother tells him that his father and his grandfather were both notorious for their womanising.
- Daydream Surprise: Two of the musical sequences — "Delilah" and "Little Water Song" — include one character killing another, and it's not made clear until the song's over that they're both still alive and well.
- Deathbringer the Adorable: The Murder family are not entirely unfamiliar with violence — Nick was in the Navy and they get in occasional scrapes and tussles — but they're nice people, more interested in music and arts and crafts than in murder.
- Happily Adopted: Rosebud loves her adoptive family, and even helps out her father when the others are still shunning him.