First of all, the DVD cover photo has nothing to do with the story. Rather misleading.
This film seems to me like two films squashed together. The first part of this film focuses on Tommy (David Arquette). He works for eccentric Heinrich (Stanley Tucci) and tries to figure out where he fits in. Tommy makes housecalls, trying to sell alarm systems, and drives around in a beat-up old car. He meets Gale (played by Kate Capshaw), who changes the way he sees the world and himself. This film has one of the all-time great non-x-rated sexy kitchen scenes in it, btw, complete with comic twist at the end.
Tommy gets a new car, dresses a bit better, sees his boss a little more realistically, and then decides to take Gale to meet his parents. The parents and family (including several Arquettes) are less than thrilled with Gale, and not just because she's older than Tommy and has a son Tommy's age. Gale drinks too much when nervous, and makes a mess of the dinner and (she thinks) her relationship with Tommy. She decides to leave in the middle of the night rather than face everyone at breakfast.
Here, the fuzzy, warm, eccentric story ends.
I won't spoil the plot, but something horrible and tragic happens next, and Tommy tries to make sense of it through the rest of the film. He becomes more eccentric than Heinrich, and Heinrich eventually makes more sense (ie: how he got to be the way he is).
I was rather surprised by the ending (and the ability of some to forgive others, or at least not hold something against another person). I was very surprised by one plot twist near the end, and I'm sure you will be too!
For actor performances, I give this a 5 stars out of 5. For story though, four out of five stars. It would've been better if the two halves had fit together a bit better, but ah well. Life goes on.
P.S. Arquette and Tucci gave particuarly excellent performances, as did Capshaw. For fans, this film is a must-have.