The setting is a going-away party for Rob, who is going to Japan on business. Hud is given the job of filming the party, and everyone's farewell messages for Rob. During the party, it is revealed that Rob slept with Beth. She leaves the party. After the creature starts attacking the city, a group of 4 people, including Rob, runs to find safety from the attacks. One of them, Marlena, is bitten by a creature, and then dies. When Beth calls Rob, their focus becomes getting to Beth's place, and trying to save her. They do get to her place, and then they all get into helicopters, but I won't say more to spoil the movie for anyone.
I agree with what Premiere magazine said about Cloverfield in Rotten Tomatoes: " It's not the life-changing movie experience the intense viral marketing attention would lead you to think it is, but its decision to focus on ground-level humanism rather than epic disaster is what separates it from the pack."
As you would expect, there is some cursing, and some gore. Overall, I didn't find anything too offensive beyond what you would expect from previews and commercials you may have seen.
Cross-posted at The World...IMHO