Gus (Vincent D'Onofrio), an out of work chef, is content living in his small paradise, surrounded by his beautiful wife (BethAnn Bonner), vibrant garden, and beloved opera music. Gus's life is turned upside down when his cantankerous mother in law Bidelia (Brenda Vaccaro), and her precious collection of nutcrackers invades his home. He turns to his friends, a blind bookie (Sal Richards) and a barber (Anthony Laciura) for help. Their oddball antics only make matters worse. Gus slowly loses his paradise and his sanity as Bidelia methodically destroys everything that is sacred to him.