What went wrong? For starters, too much unleavened bad news. Only disaster befalls Frank, who makes Job look like a lottery winner. Even Frank's hopes (new apartment, job with the City) are false. Only a family food tossing contest, staged by Frank to raise morale, penetrates the gloom that pervades the first two thirds of this movie. A disaster or two, or six - no problem in the service of a good story, but please, mix it up a little. Then, let's get real. Where's Aid to Families With Dependent Children? Why is the patriarch of the construction business that employs Frank so slow to follow his own instincts, overrule his creepy and callow son and give Frank a break? Why can't Frank's wife Angela (Leonor Varela -who is presumably not an illiterate convicted felon) work while Frank watches the kids, or at least take a job for long enough to get the family into City housing again? Where do you find homeless shelters that mingle families with single men? An unrelenting stream of bad news is risky. An unrealistic, unrelenting stream of bad news is a bad movie.
This film had a chance to work. A restrained Mr. Leguizamo chews no scenery here, doing yeoman work in a lost cause. He and David Castro, a kid with adult chops, provide some extraordinary scenes together. The final scene on the subway captures real warmth with humor, but it's too little, too late. Don't even rent this one.