I've seen this film many times in both theaters and at home. I own it, of course. One of the advantages of seeing it in the theater is that some people need an audience to realize how truly funny it is. There are 4 essential characters. John Lurie, the musician, plays the closest we get to a lead character. He lives in dismal circumstances in New York City. He has an incredibly doltish friend, Frank, who is his best friend. They take Lurie's 16 year old cousin from Hungary to Cleveland so she can stay with an old woman relative. The ride to Cleveland is hilarious even but their stay there is even more so. These characters embody what is known as the "full Cleveland," that is, being incredibly dorky by anyone's standards. And where else could they stay but on the near West Side, the epitome of that image? The film's writer-director knows that of which he speaks since is a native of the Cleveland-Akron metro region. One thing about Clevelanders though is that they can laugh at themselves. I saw this film at the opening of the Cleveland International Film Festival, my home town, and the entire audience, including hubby and me, were howling throughout. The film then moves on to Florida with the three younger people(another insider joke as this is Cleveland's favorite home away from home). In Florida, the three manage to get into even more absurd episodes, including scoring money off a drug dealer. Truly, these 3 are the Three Stooges of Deadpan. Jarmusch makes good use of music in all of his films and this, his first, has a wonderful soundtrack which acts as counterpoint to the deadpan.