The 2008 drama “Nothing Like the Holidays” from Overture Films was directed by Alfredo De Villa with the screenplay written by Alison Swanand Rick Najera based on a story by Robert Teitel and Rene M. Rigal. Starring: Alfred Molina, Elizabeth Peña, Freddy Rodríguez, Luis Guzmán, Jay Hernandez, John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Vanessa Ferlito, Melonie Diaz, Alexander Bautista, Ramses Jimenez, Manny Perez, Claudia Michelle Wallace, Cheryl Hamada and Manny Sosa.
Jesse Rodriguez (Freddy Rodriguez) has just arrived in his hometown of Chicago on military leave for the holidays and is waiting for his friends Johnny (Luis Gusman) and Ozzy (Jay Hernandez), to pick him up. Meanwhile Jesse’s father Edy (Alfred Molina) is busy hanging up the “Welcome Home” sign on the house, while his wife Anna (Elizabeth Pena) watches but she is not looking very happy. Edy knows that Jesse will come to his store before heading home, so he prepares to head for the supermarket he has owned and operated since Jesse was a boy.
Meanwhile, Jesse and his friends load his gear in the car and head for his father’s store, where he receives a hero’s welcome and they all head for home.Anna is overjoyed to see him and soon the rest of his family begins to arrive. Jesse’s sister Roxanna (Vanessa Ferlito) who’s an actress arrives, along with his brother Mauricio (John Leguizamo) and his wife Sarah (Debra Messing). Although Sarah is not totally comfortable with Anna questions about when she will have grandchildren, she greets her warmly.
The family settles in and everyone wants to hear Jesse’s story, but he really doesn’t want to talk about his three years in Iraq. A little while later Marissa (Melonie Diaz), her son, and her boyfriend Fernando (Ramses Jimenez) arrive. Marissa is Jesse’s ex-girlfriend and there is still an attraction between them which makes things in the room a bit tense. Anna saves the day by announcing dinner is ready.
But at dinner things get heated when Anna announces that she is leaving Edy. Everyone is stunned by the announcement and they all know the reason; Edy was catch having an affair. Suddenly everyone realizes that this might be the last Christmas in the house where they all grew up and decide that they have to make this the best holiday get-together ever and hope that this will help Anna change her mind.