The film starts with Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) driving recklessly with his girlfriend Kelly (Laura Vandervoort) and his two friends in the backseat. It’s clear that they’ve all been drinking, and they’re on their way to a party. Chris lowers the top of the car so that his two friends in the back can stand up. While Chris speeds off, he tells Kelly about how beautiful fireflies are and turns off his lights. Chris and Kelly look at all the fireflies in the night, and his two friends urge Chris to turn his lights on. When he does, the car rams into a stalled tractor. Four years later, and Chris does a writing assignment in class about what a typical day is in his life. Chris has to write everything down in his notebook so that he remembers, due to his head injury he sustained in the crash. Chris gets up, makes coffee if his roommate didn’t, eats breakfast, sometimes cries for no reason, and locks the door. When he takes his shower, we see that he has scars on his head and on the back of his shoulder. Everything in his apartment is labeled and reminds Chris what to do. After class, he goes to his car and finds that he forgot his keys inside again. Nonetheless, he pulls out another key he keeps in his shoe and drives to an ice rink, where he watches kids skating while eating his lunch. He always sees Kelly walking by, but doesn’t talk to her. Chris’ watch alarm goes off, and he meets with Janet (Carla Gugino), his case worker, in a restaurant. She asks him how he’s doing, and if he’s taking his meds. Janet asks how he’s dealing with his depression and other things, but Chris says that he’s fine. He blurts out loud that he wants to fuck her, making things uncomfortable. Janet wants Chris to start thinking about what he really wants, so that she can help him.
Chris goes to work at the Noel State Bank & Trust, where he works at night as the janitor. Mrs. Lange (Alex Borstein), a teller at the bank, is friendly with Chris and says hi on her way out. Chris talks with Mr. Tuttle (David Huband), the bank manager, about possibly getting a higher ranking job at another bank, but before he does that he needs to have served 100 hours of teller duty. Tuttle does not think that Chris is up to it, but Chris tries to convince him by stating everything about what being a teller entails and talking about how Lange has been helping him. Chris forgets and stumbles a bit, and Tuttle tells him to change the light bulb in the women’s bathroom. Chris cleans the bank and changes the light bulb, then wraps tape around his broom and hits hockey pucks into a trash can. Chris remembers being on the hockey team, and being a star player before his accident. He also remembers his teammate, who was in the car with him when he crashed. Across the street from the bank is a parked car. Marty (Morgan Kelly), Cork (Aaron Berg), Bone (Greg Dunham), and Gary (Matthew Goode) watch Chris inside the bank. Marty lights up a cigarette and tells Gary that Chris is pathetic, but Gary orders him to put out his cigarette while he uses his asthma inhaler.
Chris goes home to his apartment, where his blind roommate and best friend Lewis (Jeff Daniels) leaves him a message, telling him to make dinner and giving instructions how to do so. Chris puts on the stove and tries to open a can, but can’t. After trying unsuccessfully again and again, Chris gets angered and throws things around the kitchen. Lewis works as a telemarketer, and Chris calls him to say that he can’t open the can. Lewis finishes up and goes home to find Chris sitting against the refrigerator, saying that he’s sorry. Lewis understands and cooks up dinner, making Chris help as he tells him about his day. Chris has problems with sequencing events, telling Lewis about having a hard time writing out a normal day in class. Lewis helps him by making Chris tell the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. Chris can’t remember exactly how it goes, so Lewis tells him to think about the end and tell the story backwards. This helps Chris remember, and he writes down “Start from the end” in his notebook. We see Chris go about his day again, and while he’s working at night police officer Ted (Sergio Di Zio) comes around to drop off some donuts. Ted does this regularly, and they chat while eating. Ted’s wife is pregnant, so she got him a pager just in case her water breaks or whatever.
Chris goes to a bar, where he sits by himself and orders a drink. He’s awkward around women, and so keeps to himself. Luvlee (Isla Fisher) tells him hi while she walks by and heads to the back. Gary sits next to Chris and hits on a woman, clearly charming her. Chris writes down Gary’s pick-up line and Gary introduces himself. He says that he dated Chris’ older sister for a while and appears friendly. Chris pays the bartender for his drink, unaware that he’s being ripped off. Gary sees this though, and makes the bartender say that Chris’ drink is on the house. Gary notices that Chris really does have a disability, and says that no one is perfect before he takes his inhaler. He asks Chris about his accident, and Chris says that he doesn’t remember it (just what happened before and after). In the crash, his two friends were killed in the backseat and Chris was flung over ninety feet from the car. They talk some more, and Gary excuses himself while he walks over to his gang and plays pool with Luvlee and her friend.
Time passes by, and Chris and Lewis go to visit Chris’ family for Thanksgiving. The Pratt family is upscale and wealthy, helping Chris out by paying for his bills. Lewis is lively and compliments Barbara Pratt (Alberta Watson) for the meal, but her servants made it for them. Barbara disapproves of the jacket that Chris is wearing, which gets Chris upset. Lewis tells a mushroom joke and then tells Robert Pratt (Bruce McGill) about the business plan that him and Chris are working on. Chris didn’t tell his parents, but Lewis continues on. They want to open their own restaurant, and they found an old gas station that they can renovate. The Pratts are not exactly thrilled, and Chris storms up to his old room. His older sister says goodbye before leaving, and Chris asks her about Gary. She doesn’t remember him, but she might’ve dated him since she dated a lot of guys. Chris goes back downstairs and plays his father in chess while looking over the new guns he added to his collection. Robert easily beats Chris, which get him agitated. Robert asks if he should let him win, and Chris leaves with Lewis. On the way back home, Lewis tells him that it might be a good idea not to go back to his family.
The next time Chris is at the bar, he tries to use Gary’s pick-up line but fails miserably. Luvlee comes by and tells him that her friend wants to buy him a drink. Gary waves them over, and Luvlee talks with Chris all night. Chris forgets her name again, so she writes it down herself in his notebook. Gary, Luvlee’s friend, Luvlee, and Chris go to Luvlee’s home where Gary and the friend have loud sex. Chris is a little uncomfortable with the noise, and Luvlee comes into the room wearing a nightgown. She tells him that she used to be a big fan of him, and went to every hockey game he was in. She says that after his accident though, everyone said that he woke up a completely different person. Gary walks through the room completely naked to get a beer, then goes back into the other room where Chris sees the friend naked on the bed. Gary closes the door, and Chris blurts out that he wants to see Luvlee naked. He apologizes and gets ready to leave, but Luvlee kisses him. Chris tells her that she doesn’t have to do this, but she wants to. He has sex with Luvlee.
Gary drives Chris home in his car, and invites him to a farm where they’ll have Thanksgiving dinner, even though they’re a week late. Before Gary leaves, he tells Chris that he’s better than living in his apartment with Lewis. Chris goes inside his apartment to hear Lewis playing his guitar in his room. Lewis can smell Luvlee’s perfume, and realizes that Chris got laid. He makes him have a seat and divulge into details. Chris says that Luvlee is her stage name, and that she used to be a dancer. He also makes mention that he met her through Gary, which makes Lewis suspicious. Chris goes to the farm, where Cork introduces himself after pissing on the front of the house. Luvlee and her friend are making the food, and Luvlee kisses Chris. Gary introduces Chris to his gang and says that the farm belong to a friend of a friend. A man leaves as Chris comes into the living room, who hands a big brown bag to Gary (who tells him that he’ll take them all). He gives Chris alcohol when an old man comes downstairs and asks them who they are. The girls bring the food as Bone silently backs the old man out of the door. Chris forgets about the old man when he sees Luvlee. Later on, Chris wakes up alone in the living room but can hear Gary’s voice downstairs in the basement. He goes to the basement and notices a board that has a lot of pictures and notes on it. Gary says that his plan probably shouldn’t be seen before its ready, but lets Chris look at it. The pictures and notes are all of banks. Gary says that he’s going to rob one, and they both laugh as if it were a joke.
Turns out Gary, Bone, Cork, and Marty are all ex-cons. They’ve been scouting out numerous banks, but found one that has absolutely no security at night the Noel State Bank & Trust. Chris realizes that he’s talking about the bank where he works and freaks out. Gary calms his down and tells him to have a seat. Gary and his gang make it clear that they’ve been watching Chris, and that he goes out once a week to where his crash was so that he won’t forget it. Gary tells Chris what his father told him, which is whoever has the money has the power. Chris doesn’t have any money of his own, having to rely on his wealthy family to pay for everything. Gary says that they do that because they don’t think Chris is capable of taking care of himself. Chris says that it isn’t true, but Gary challenges him to call his father and ask for a thousand dollars. Chris becomes quiet, and Gary tells him that he can give him his old life back by participating in the robbery. The bank will have to have plenty of money to hold over for the winter, and so they are going to rob it in a couple of weeks. Gary makes Chris write down “whoever has the money has the power”. He is a smooth salesman, and tells Chris to think it over. Before Chris can leave the farm, Luvlee appears on the stairs not wearing any pants, and seduces him again.
The next morning, as Chris leaves, Luvlee watches from a window as Gary wraps his arms around her. Chris calls his father during this time and asks him for a thousand dollars, but he refuses to give it to him. Chris is convinced to take part in the robbery. Instead of doing his regular daily routine, Chris skips breakfast with Lewis to follow an armored truck with Gary, and to scout getaway cars with Cork. Chris takes a picture of the bank’s vault when Ted shows up to bring donuts again. He asks Chris what he’s doing, and he tries to cover it up by saying that he’s taking pictures of the bank to show his parents. Ted makes him hand over the camera, but then tells Chris that he needs to be in the pictures and takes a photo of Chris standing next to the vault. Also during this time Lewis and Chris meet with someone at a loan agency and propose their gas station restaurant idea to him. The gas station they found was called “Lou’s”, and that name kind of goes with Lewis’ name. Their restaurant would be called “Lou’s Your Lunch”, specializing in only serving breakfast and lunch. Afterwards, Lewis thinks it went well as Chris watches Kelly walk by again.
Marty knows what kind of safe the bank has from Chris’ pictures, and says that it’s better to break into it through the side. Gary is happy that Chris is helping, and Chris asks what his job is. Chris has the most important job of all the lookout. He is also to call Gary when the money arrives at the bank. While the gang finishes their planning of the robbery, it’s clear that Chris’ friendship with Lewis is slowly deteriorating, having been corrupted by Gary. One night Chris comes home and throws away the dinner that Lewis made for him. Later on, Chris sneaks home with Luvlee and has sex with her again. The next morning Luvlee sneaks into the kitchen to get something when Lewis makes himself known while eating his breakfast. Luvlee asks if he’s been blind his whole life, but he says that he hasn’t. Lewis used to cook meth a long time ago, and he didn’t wear any protection while doing so. The fumes and such eventually caused him to lose his sight. Lewis makes it clear that he’s known plenty of “Luvlees” and “Garys”, and knows that they are going to hurt Chris. Luvlee won’t listen to any more of it, but Lewis makes her think about what she’s doing there before she leaves. Chris heard the entire conversation. When Chris and Lewis go to a restaurant to eat, Chris loses his temper when Lewis hits on the waitress and says that he’s going to move out, which upsets Lewis.
Chris stands by train tracks as a train passes by to see the armored truck unloading the money to the bank. He calls Gary, who tells him that they’ll rob it tomorrow night. That night, Ted comes by again with donuts for Chris. This time, he brought his wife along too. Chris tells Ted that he doesn’t need to continually check in on the bank, but Ted tells him that he comes by for him. Chris snaps and tells him that if he wants a donut, he’ll get it himself. Surprised, Ted takes back his donuts and drives off with his pregnant wife. The next day, Luvlee stands by herself at the farm when she sees Bone put the big brown bag into the back of a car. Curious, she reaches into the bag and pulls out a big pistol. The bag is full of guns, and Gary watches her. It’s clear that Luvlee has been thinking about Lewis said and later that day she packs up her things and gets into a cab. At the same time, Chris comes by her house to see her. Luvlee makes the cab stop and looks at Chris, but ends up driving away without saying goodbye.
At work, Chris says goodbye to Mrs. Lange as Gary and his gang drive by. Before Mr. Tuttle leaves, he says that he found what Chris put in his mailbox. It’s a business card that says Chris’ name, and that he’s had a head injury, including symptoms he has. Tuttle is impressed with Chris’ persistence in trying to be a teller, and tells him that he’ll start looking into a shift for Chris to work as a teller. Chris puts his card back into his wallet, and calls Lewis after Tuttle leaves. He apologizes for what happened earlier, and tells him that he messed up. He’s in way over his head, and Lewis says that he’ll be home in an hour. As Chris talks, Bone comes up to the front door and knocks. They go out back when the others realize that something’s wrong. Chris tells Gary that he doesn’t want to do it anymore, and tells them that he won’t tell anyone about it but he’ll have no part in it. Gary punches Chris and grabs his throat, ordering him to do his job. Chris stands by the front of the bank, Cork stays in the car as the getaway driver, Marty uses a blowtorch to cut his way through a wall and into the safe, and Bone keeps an eye on Chris.
Cork warns everyone that Ted is coming by again, and Gary holds Chris at gunpoint, telling him to act normal. Ted approaches the bank without donuts and tells Chris that starting tomorrow another police officer is going to take over his shift. Chris thinks that it’s because of what he said, but it’s because of Ted’s pregnant wife. Before he leaves, Chris apologizes to Ted for what happened the previous night, but Ted understands. He takes off, and Marty gets through the wall and the safe. Gary and he look into the hole when Gary notices a camera inside. He makes Chris go inside and retrieve the money. Chris, not seeing the camera, does as he’s told. Marty transfers the money to the car in the back when Ted comes back with donuts. Chris is forced to stay inside the vault as Marty, Gary, and Bone stand behind the pillars in the bank. Ted knocks on the door and get suspicious when he doesn’t see Chris. When he looks closer, he sees the blowtorch on the floor and Gary’s reflection in a window. Bone realizes that Ted knows, so he walks out and turns off the lights. He shoots at Ted with a sawed-off shotgun, kick starting a shootout. Ted shoots Marty in the shoulder and chest, killing him. Cork comes around and tries to kill Ted, but is shot as well. Ted shoots Gary through the side, and orders him to drop his weapon. Chris tries to warn him that there’s still one more person, but it’s too late. Ted’s pager goes off, and Bone pops out and blasts Ted in the back. Ted asks for help, and Gary tells Bone to help him. Bone shoots Ted in the head, and Chris runs out the back. He can’t start his car because his keys are again locked inside, and so he takes the getaway car. Gary screams for Chris to come back as he drives away.
Chris is hysterical, screaming and thinking back to his car accident along with the awry bank robbery. He is pulled over by a cop because he’s not driving with his lights on. As he gives the cop his license and registration, he tells him that it was his fault that the accident happened and that they’re going to kill him. The cop tells him that he’s going to be fine and lets him go. Turns out that when Chris gave the cop his license, he also gave him the card that had his disability information on it. Chris drives to his apartment when he notices that the lights are on. He calls Lewis and asks him if he’s okay. Gary and Bone are there, holding Lewis hostage. Gary orders Chris to give him the money, but Chris bolts when he hears Bone coming down. Chris drives to his family’s house and thinks about what to do, flipping through his notebook and thinking about the events that got him here. He writes down “Save Lewis” and “Kill Gary”. When he looks at his sunglasses, he writes down “Kill Bone First” and “Get Gun”. Chris goes downstairs and loads a shotgun, putting it into one of the two duffel bags full of money. To remember which bag has the gun, he ties his shoelace on the bag and writes it down. Chris calls Gary and knows that they were going to murder him and dig a grave for him after the robbery, since there were shovels in the car. He also was fully aware of the camera in the vault. Gary threatens to have Bone slice Lewis up, and Chris tells him that he’ll exchange Lewis for the money. He tells them to meet at the ice rink where he eats lunch at, Lewis better not have a mark on him, and that he has the money and the power. Chris goes out to where his car accident was and buries the money in the snow.
Chris shows up early and waits. He sees Kelly again and this time follows her. She says that it’s about time they talked, and she’s no longer mad at him for what happened. Kelly lifts up her skirt to show her prosthetic leg, and Chris wakes up. It was a dream. Bone smashes the car window open and grabs Chris. He throws him down on the ice where Gary and Lewis are waiting. Gary is bleeding to death and is weak, but still wants the money. Chris says that he buried it, and forgot where it is. Bone kicks him around, and when Lewis tries to help Bone hurts him as well. Gary sees that Chris’ boots have dirt on them, and then has Bone retrieve Chris’ notebook. They now know where the money is, and drive out to the road where Chris had his car accident. Gary sits in the back of the car while Bone keeps an eye on Chris. He digs up the duffel bags but forgets which one has the shotgun in it. He reaches for his notebook but remembers that Gary has it. As Gary reads through it, Bone orders Chris to hand him a bag. Chris gives him the one without the shoelace, and Bone tells him to bring up the other one. As Bone loads it into the car, him and Gary clearly don’t fully trust each other. Anyways, Bone grabs Lewis and makes him kneel on the ground. Just before Bone can shoot him, Chris blasts him through the chest with the shotgun. Bone’s dead, and Gary is on the ground crawling towards his inhaler. Chris kicks it near him, but Gary dies before he can get to it.
Chris is cleared of all charges by the FBI, since he turned in the money and Marty failed to cut the power line, so the cameras all over the bank were still on and showed that Gary was forcing Chris to participate. Chris and Lewis opened their “Lou’s Your Lunch” restaurant with the help of Chris’ father. Mr. Tuttle eats there frequently. Chris and Lewis still live together and are still friends. Chris also has begun to skate again at the ice rink, but still hasn’t talked with Kelly. He wishes he could talk to her like he did in his dream, but he will still wait until he’s ready. The end.
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