Robert Longfellow is a playwright whose latest play in New York City has just bombed while his marriage is in no better shape. Seeking an escape, he travels back to Los Angeles to visit his mother, meet a dear secret girlfriend and decide on new writing opportunities. However, everything changes when his brutish childhood neighbor, Gus, takes Robert hostage with the police surrounding the house. In this situation, the strained conversations inside drift to Robert's profession and the nature of creative writing. To placate Gus, Robert introduces him to improvisational dialogue and the pair engage in some dramatic exercises. However as they perform, the material becomes more personal as the trapped pair confront each other with hard truths that will leave neither of them unscathed.