What says Christmas Cheer like the plight of the working poor? Where God Left His Shoes begs the question with a surprising degree of grace and seriousness. Anchored by John Leguizamo as Frank Diaz, a failed boxer and dutiful husband, the movie follows the Diaz clan as they are evicted from their New York apartment and forced to move into a shelter. Most of the action takes place on Christmas Eve as Frank scours the city to find a job and secure a government apartment in the Bronx that just became available. This proves to be a challenge, and the follies of Frank and his stepson – expertly capturing the bustle of Holiday New York – are tragicomic, lean and effective.

The only gripe would be the rest of the Diaz clan (wife and stepchildren), who come off more as stressed suburbanites stuck in an airport terminal than a poor family with the gumption and dignity to stay together rather than stay somewhere with a roof over their heads. But perhaps that’s merely a product of Leguizamo’s strength in this role, his expert not-so-wise-guy cadence and beaten down jocularity.

Grade: A-

Where God Left His Shoes releases in select theaters Dec. 19.