We start watching a man pull up to the sidewalk of a house, and we hear Lindsey Kingston (Aleisha Allen) saying that they'll be nice to this guy...if he can make it to the front door. The man trips a wire that starts up some machinery that starts slinging glue filled balloons at him. The assault drives him backward where he happens to slip on some marbles that have "accidentally" fallen out of a toy dump truck. He lands on his back and looks up in time to see...a bowling ball rolling down an ironing board and right onto him. He screams and two faces pop out of a window above--Lindsay and her brother Kevin (Philip Daniel Bolden), who both laugh as this former suitor runs far far away. As he leaves, Kevin confesses that he feels a little sorry for these guys, but Lindsey says they have to keep them away until Dad comes back and him and mom get back together. She says that she, "...just feels sorry for the next loser who tries to put the moves on mom." Cut to...
Nick Persons, P.E....short for Player Extraordinaire. We walk in on Nick (Ice Cube), getting a new ride -- a Lincoln Navigator -- and cruising around town heading for his sports memoribillia store with his bobble-head of Satchel Paige (voiced hilariously by Tracy Morgan). Nick checks out a few ladies and then gets to the store where his buddy Marty (Jay Mohr) is waiting. They talk about Nick's dating life and how he hates kids just as two of them come in looking for Pokemon cards. Nick says they have "No Pokemon, no Digimon, no yeah-mon, no movie cards, and no SHOPLIFTERS!" as one of the boys tries to lift someone's rookie card. They tongue the glass on their way out leaving Nick to clean it, but when he goes outside, he sees what he thinks is the finest woman on the planet. He goes back inside and Marty comes over to look. Nick starts working his way across the street to put the moves on her...just as Lindsey and Kevin (whoops) come running up. Caught, Nick heads back inside.
That night, Nick is driving home when on the road he passes Lindsey and Kevin's mom. Her battery is out, and he drives past, but then slows down. Satchel realizes what Nick's doing and advises against, but Nick tunes him out. He backs up, gets out, and starts trying to jump her car in the rain, which can best be described as "a shocking experience." Nick gives her a ride back to her place and on the way he learns that her name is Suzanne (Nia Long) and that she is a huge Satchel Paige fan, a fact which earns her major points with the bobble-head himself. We also learn that Nick was once set to play AAA ball, but he injured himself...installing his TV. They get back home and while the kids give Suzanne a "Where have you BEEN?" routine, Suzanne says good night to Nick and spontaneously asks if he could pick her up in the morning...which becomes the next two mornings...which becomes a week...and so on.
One day, Nick and Suzanne are shopping for groceries when she points out that Nick has never taken off his cap. She gets it off of him and says that he looks good. They start to kiss, but she stops before they even get started and says that she can't, because of the kids. They agree to friendship and it works...except Nick is suddenly getting hassled a lot more by his friends, who are all calling him loser now for not breaking it off entirely with Suzanne. After playing basketball with these guys one day, Nick goes to take Suzanne to the airport, but before she can go in, she gets a call from her ex, Frank. While she talks, Nick hears an announcement from the speakers--"The friend zone is for losers only; please unload your friend and get on with your life." Suzanne comes back saying that she can't go to Vancouver now because her ex won't take the kids and now she's worried that she'll lose her job. On a moment, Nick says, "I'll take the kids." Suzanne squeals with delight and Nick stands there, wondering what he's done as Satchel shakes his head in resignation.
The next morning, Nick is picking the kids up to get the plane to Vancouver. They come downstairs when their babysitter, Miss Mable (Nichelle Nichols) calls them, and...well, innocent men on death row gazing the chair looked happier than those two. They demand a present from Nick, and he gives Lindsay a coupon to a pizza place for a free two-liter soda and he gives Kevin a corkscrew, which, for the moment, gets him respect from that half. They leave, each declaring "Shotgun!" and Miss Mable laughs and goes, "They are going to eat you alive." They get to the airport where Kevin promptly scratches the door on Nick's Lincoln and pisses Nick off, but Nick gets him to calm back down with a ten-spot. Lindsey is miffed, but Nick gives her one too...to which she replies, "I believe I'm older than him." He gives her another ten and they head inside to the metal detector. They get the usual spiel, and Kevin realizes that he's got Nick's corkscrew in his pocket. While Nick empties his and Lindsey goes through, Kevin slips the corkscrew into Nick's jacket pocket and walks through the detector without setting it off. Nick finally gets all his metal off, goes through, and sets it off. A guard finds the corkscrew, and they get booted from the airport after a bunch of guards dogpile Nick.
Option two: the train. They get to the train station and are racing for it when Kevin says he needs to pee real bad. Nick takes him in and then we see them on the platform running again when Kevin now notices his shoe is untied. He starts tying it...really...slowly...as the conductor yells that the train is now boarding. Nick gets the kids on the train by lifting them over the barrier, and while he's struggling with the luggage, Kevin realizes that his action figures cape fell off outside. Him and Lindsey get off the train just as Nick gets on. The train starts up and Nick sees the kids outside. He starts running through the train waving at them to jump on, but they just go, "What is he, nuts?" Frustrated, he jumps...just to the right of a luggage carriage, hitting the concrete. Hard.
Option three: driving. Nick lays down some rules which basically are supposed to guarantee his car remains clean (HA!). Once they're on the highway, Lindsey puts on some Radio Disney, but Nick hates it and puts on his 50-cent CD. Lindsey puts the Radio Disney back on and amazingly, Nick starts grooving to it a little. Things go well until Kevin pipes up with that always popular kid-line, "I have to pee." Satchel starts yelling at him to pull over, and Nick jerks the car into a truck stop. He carries Kevin down the aisle and into the ladies room (men's was occupied) where, since someone was using the toilet, Kevin goes in the sink. Suddenly, the toilet lady comes out, sees what's going on, screams, and gets doused by Kevin's pee since he was still going when Nick jerked him away. They leave after buying some snacks and fruit ("Olives?""It's a truck stop-that's all they had."). Nick starts to clean up some fruit juice that was spilled earlier when his phone rings. Lindsey hits the speakerphone and suddenly Marty comes on insulting the kids (not knowing their listening). Nick slams the phone shut and grins, but the kids just look at him...until Kevin starts having an asthma attack. Nick panics and backs up, and the kids seize the oppurtunity to lock him out and take a reverse spin around the gas pumps which ends with Nick upside down through the sunroof, a dented rear door, and a giant Paul Bunyan axe hitting Nick's--
Sometime later, we see a slightly dirtier Lincoln and a much angrier Nick back on the road. He and the kids start arguing, and while Nick is yelling and pointing, a devillish Lindsey messages to a trucker across the way, "Help us!" The trucker, Big Al (M. C. Gainey) nods and calls one of his buddies, and they force Nick off the road, down a big hill, through a muddy tree-filled forest, and to a lake's edge, where he pretty much loses it. The kids just smile and say, "I like him. He's funny." Nick drives the ruined Lincoln up to a repair shop and convinces the Chinese owner to put on some tires for a signed hologreaphic rookie card for some Chinese player. Meanwhile, the kids have been playing with Nick's onstar computer and realize they're only thirty miles from Redmond and their dad. They hop a freight train and start heading there with Nick giving chase on a horse. While he's chasing, he gets a call from Suzanne, and they all keep quiet about what's happening, tossing the cell phone in and out of the door between each other. The train outdistances him though, and he goes back to get the Lincoln, where he sees the onstar blinking Redmond. He smiles and heads off.
In Redmond, Kevin feels sorry for Nick while the two kids make their way to their dad's house. Lindsey says they have to be subtle to get him to come back, but when they arrive, they see him in the front window with another woman...and a baby. While they stare, Nick comes up behind them and takes them outta there. They go to a diner where Nick tells them that he know's a lot about leaving, since his dad did it when he was about Lindsey's age. The kids finally warm up to Nick, and they get back on the road. Soon, though, they have to stop again when Kevin's inhaler runs out. They pull up to a nearby pharmacy just as it's closing but Nick is able to "look" the guy into telling him where the Pharmacist is. Kevin asks how he did that, and Nick explains that it's a little something he developed to scare off bullies when he was a kid. He teaches Kevin how to do it (kind of a lip-curl and sneer combo, possibly complimented by a growl) and they head for...an elementary school, where a huge party is going on. Nick finds the Pharmacist--dressed as a giant clown--who says he'll do it if Nick can watch the twenty million kids for a few minutes. Nick has no choice but to agree, so while Lindsey and Kevin get high on brownies and stuff and Kevin "looks" some kid into giving him back his brownies, Nick breaks up a dogpile of kids onto sumo wrestlers...only to get dogpiled himself (Lindsey: "Do you think we should help him?" Kevin: (pause) "After this bite."). Lindsey goes up onstage and blows the crowd away with an amazing Karaoke of "Respect" just as the pharmacist comes back with Kevin's air.
Back in the car, things are moving along nicely with Nick learning that he is no longer the enemy when Kevin suddenly throws up all the food he just ate (sugar high). They pull over somewhere and spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning it up. As they finish, two things happen--Nick gets a call from Suzanne saying they have to be there by 8:00 or Nick's in deep shit, and Kevin sees a deer standing nearby and he gets all frightened ("If we don't move, maybe it won't kill us.") Nick smiles, gives Kevin a cookie, and walks him over to the deer, which starts eating it. Lindsey grabs a flash camera from out of the car and starts taking pictures which drives the deer insane, causing Nick to get pummeled by the deer and lose his keys. The deer eventually runs off and, since they can't find Nick's keys, Nick attempts to hotwire the car...only he ends up setting it on fire instead. He grabs Satchel and Galactico (Kevin's figure) and the trio stage dive away from the exploding Lincoln. Nick screams at the kids but quickly apologizes, and they start walking towards the highway with about half an hour to spare.
On the highway, we see the trio hitching when a familiar-looking red truck-cab pulls over. Lindsey and Kevin get in, and--surprise!--it's Big Al as the driver. He floors it and leaves Nick standing there until Nick flags down a cable repair truck and starts chasing him. They get all the way into Vancouver before Lindsey and Kevin manage to tie Big Al up and escape. He gets free and chases them just as Nick arrives to start chasing him (everybody got that?). They end up at Suzanne's party where Al is able to grab Kevin but Lindsey makes it through the people and finds Suzanne. Suzanne asks where Nick is, but Lindsey looks at a TV behind her. Suzanne follows her gaze, and sees Nick and Al fighting on the ice for posession of the puck--I mean, of Kevin. Some police come and break them up just as Kevin starts having an asthma attack again. Nick breaks free and gets the inhaler, putting it in Kevin's mouth. Kevin comes back and Nick says, "Don't you ever scare me like that again," which causes Big Al to realize his mistake. Suzanne comes up with Lindsey, and the cops ask her if Nick had permission to watch her children. She says, "Yes...but it was a mistake. It won't happen again."
Later, Nick and Al are heading out of the temporary police barracks set up by the party and Al offers Nick a ride home...until they both notice Al's truck being towed away. Resigned, Nick sits down when Satchel pipes up and suggests that since it's New Year's Eve, they should go clubbing--after all, Vancouver produces more Playboy bunnies than any other city. Nick looks up and sees a father, mother, and their kids walking towards him and he looks back at Satchel, who says, "Hey Nick...you know what they call a fifty year old bachelor?" Without waiting for an answer, he goes on..."Lonely." Nick smiles and heads for the hotel Suzanne and the kids are staying at. He goes up to their room and knocks. Suzanne opens up, and Nick says he just wants to say goodbye to the kids. She lets him in, and they seem transported with joy at seeing him. He says that he's gotta go away and they can't be driving off every man that wants to date their mama. He also gives them each a going-away present--his "blingage," two necklaces he's been wearing throughout the whole movie. He also leaves Satchel behind for them to look after. He goes to leave and says to Suzanne, "I hope we can still be friends." She says that she doesn't think that's gonna be possible. He starts walking out when she finishes by saying that she doesn't think they'll be able to be friends, "...because I want to be so much more than that." Nick bursts into a huge smile, and they all hug each other just as the fireworks signalling a new year finally start going off in the skies above. Satchel looks at the happy group, sniffles, and says unabashedly, "I LOVE a happy ending."
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