At the age of six, Billy Conway witnesses his elderly neighbour Mr Smolensky die in an accident involving beer, a barbeque, and a large can of accelerant.
He reacts by running straight into a tree and knocking himself out. When his mother, Gloria, Queen of the Comic Putdown, suggests a trip to the drive-in movie to take Billy’s mind off seeing Mr Smolensky barbequed, the Conways’ night out ends up in a fatal car wreck, killing Billy’s sister Linda and putting his brother Gene in a vegetative state. Over the ensuing eight years, the ripples of that fateful accident have thrown the remaining family members into disarray. While Billy has settled into an accident-prone existence, his father Ray has moved out. Gloria’s caustic wit, once entertaining to her nearest and dearest, has become an impenetrable armor; and Billy’s only remaining sibling, Larry, prefers to just remind everyone that life as a Conway is hell.
Circumstance throws Billy together with his brother’s best friend Doug. Reminiscence about Gene and Doug’s childhood antics encourages Billy to cut loose. One night, after shoplifting bourbon in the nude, a mishap with a stolen bowling ball and a moving car causes another major accident. Billy and Doug hide their involvement from everyone through funerals, weddings and police interrogations. When Gloria finally learns the truth, unaddressed guilt over the family breakdown and grief about her catatonic son bubbles over. The Conways learn that hiding from pain doesn’t take it away; that if there is to be purpose to this dysfunctional family after all, they must find a way back to each other and move forward.