The literal translation of the Italian title for this ensemble piece set in the kitchen of a restaurant in Milan is, "Everything in place but nothing in working order." We follow the frenzied lives of the kitchen employees, mostly migrant Southern workers, and their lovers and families. While we never see the restaurant, the kitchen's immense size makes obvious the film's allegorical design. The characters work in the kitchen of the world, trying to satisfy the appetite of a society that consumes more and more. The onscreen events are farcical, but the grim reality of the displaced workers' lives lingers in the background, giving the film a poignant air of tragedy.