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It's 1876 and Leopold (Hugh Jackman) is the third duke of Albany as well as aspiring inventor and future inventor of the elevator. He draws pictures of what would be the modern day elevator, even though everyone thinks he's crazy. The perfect Prince Charming, Leo has yet to find a marriage that would secure his family's financial future, much to the chargin of his demanding uncle.

One day, while watching the erecting of the Brooklyn bridge which he designed, he spots a man with a strange looking device Leo doesn't recognize. Intrigued, he tries to follow the man, but loses track of him. Later that night, Leo sees him again at a party, again with the man using the weird contraption. He again races after him, and follows him to the half finished bridge. Leo sees the man attempting to jump off, but grabs his arm. The man tells him to let go and sprays Mace or something in his face, but they both end up falling instead.

It turns out the strange man is Stuart (Liev Schreiber), who comes from the present day. Stuart found a rip in the fabric of time beneath the Brooklyn bridge that is only open very rarely. By jumping off the bridge, he found a portal into 1876 and when he jumped off the bridge while in 1876, it sent him back to the present.

Unfortunatley, Stuart now doesn't know what to do with the naive newcomer and his meddling ex-girlfriend, Kate McKay (Meg Ryan), a stressed-out marketing executive, keeps pestering him. Before Stuart has a chance to explain to Leo what's happened, he gets in a minor accident trying to use the elevator, which just won't work. (Leo was supposed to invent the elevator, and now that he's in the wrong time, elevators have stopped working.)

Stuart tries to get out the hospital, telling everyone he's found a rip in time, but everyone just thinks he's a wacko. Stuart tells Kate to watch over Leo because he doesn't know what he's doing, and that Leo is from 1876.

Kate thinks he's screwy, and Stuart begs her to get his pictures (that he took in 1876) developed, but she doesn't believe him and doesn't want to waste the time.

Despite the fact that Kate thinks that Stuart is crazy, she and her brother, Charlie, do start spending time with Leo. At first Kate thinks Leo is annoying, but gradually, by his old-fashioned good manners, like the way he stands when she leaves a table, win her over. She has never met such a great guy and they spend a lot of time together.

Meanwhile, Stuart, who had been sent to a nut-house, manages to escape and tells Leo that he has to go back to his own time. Elevators aren't working because Leo wasn't there to invent them. Unfortunately, Leo has fallen in love with Kate. Not only that, but he's doing great in the present day. He's rigged a faulty toaster to toast bread to perfection thanks to his creativity, and has been giving Charlie superb advice on women. But Leo knows what he has to do, and goes back.

Stuart gets his pictures back, and lets Charlie see them. Charlie is convinced, and then notices something in the pictures of 1876: Kate is in the background. Stuart is convinced that this means that Kate is supposed to go back to that time to be with Leopold, but Kate is at this fancy business dinner to accept a promotion to vice-president of the company. She does want to go back and has only 23 minutes before the time portal closes.

Charlie and Stuart barge in and try to convince her to look at the photos she's in, but she doesn't want to because she thinks they're so crazy. Charlie and Stuart are so desperate for her to look at the photos and believe them, they just stuff them in her hand before she goes on the stage. While she is making her speech, her voices drops as she realizes she is in the pictures and that Leo really was from 1876.

They all immediately leave for the Brooklyn bridge. Traffic is bad, and they only have a few minutes. They climb to the top and Kate gets ready to jump off. A police tries to stop her, thinking it's a suicide attempt, but it's too late--she's gone.

Back in 1876, Leo is so desperate to just get the whole marriage thing over with, he is ready to announce that he will marry Miss Tree of a very wealthy family that will save his family from financial ruin. Kate tries to get into the house where the ball is, but they won't let her. Finally, just as Leo is making his announcement, he sees Kate, and announces he will be marrying Kate McKay.

They kiss and the film ends with them dancing.


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