Paul, a successful author and screenwriter, and his wife Joan, an actress, are summering at their upstate home in Duchess County. Joan leans on Paul (and the bottle) because of a mystery ailment that has left her virtually bedridden; Paul cooks, cleans and keeps Joan happy. Their grown children gather for a weekend at the summer house to celebrate Joan's birthday: stockbroker son Don and daughter-in-law Elysse; favored son Michael and his wife, Susan; and Paul and Joan's midlife surprise daughter Carla, who's bringing home her business partner (and new fiancée) Mavis. Sick of hypocrisy and denial, Don perversely delights in trading backhanded barbs and biting remarks with his soon-to-be-ex-wife and anyone else caught in the shotgun spray of his bitterness and self-loathing. Casualties caught in the crossfire of shouted truths, whispered lies, and desperate denials include the loss of innocence and the shattering of the status quo. In the end, can those left standing escape the tentacles of the family, and more importantly, will they even try to?