At a barbecue in suburban Melbourne, a man slaps a three year old boy across the face. The child, Hugo, has been misbehaving without any intervention by his parents, "the steely-eyed Rosie and the wimpish Gary". The slapper is Harry, cousin of the barbecue host and adulterous businessman whose slightly older son, Rocco, is being threatened by Hugo. This event sends the other characters "into a spiral, agonising and arguing over the notion that striking a child can ever be justified. Some believe a naughty boy should be taught some discipline, others maintain the police ought to be brought in to investigate a common assault" with a range of positions in between.