While flying to a business meeting, Dave sits next to a man named Buddy Rydell. After a series of annoyances cause Dave to lose his temper, a sky marshal tasers him, and Dave is arrested and sentenced to anger management therapy. Dave attends Buddy's sessions, Buddy's unorthodox techniques causing him to lose his temper, and Buddy tells Dave he recognizes his problem as passive-aggressive anger. After Dave gets into a bar fight caused by another of Buddy's patients, Chuck, Dave is sent back to court and Buddy intervenes on his behalf, choosing to move in with Dave and shadow him in his life as part of more intensive therapy. After receiving a phone call for Buddy informing him his mother is undergoing minor surgery, Dave jokes to him about its seriousness, prompting Buddy to warn he'll get Dave back.
After seeing Buddy's mother, the two stop at a restaurant on the way back to New York and after Buddy pressures him Dave flirts with and goes home with a young lady, but rejects her out of loyalty to Linda. Later, Dave is devastated to learn that Buddy has told Linda about the woman, but Buddy explains the woman was a former patient of his and he will explain the truth to Linda. Buddy takes a detour to a Buddhist temple, so that Dave can confront a reformed Arnie. When Arnie laughs when Dave brings up his childhood prank, Dave and Buddy get into a physical altercation and are chased off the grounds, Dave feeling good on confronting his tormentor. Back in New York, Dave attempts to propose to Linda but loses his nerve, and Linda suggests that they take a break from their relationship. Soon after Buddy begins dating Linda and a restraining order is issued against Dave when he assaults Buddy.
Called into work and yelled at by his boss, as well as learning a potential promotion has been passed to Andrew, Dave snaps, punches out Andrew, humiliates his boss and orders him to give him the promotion, to which he agrees. Learning Buddy has taken Linda to a New York Yankees game, Dave assumes Buddy intends to steal his proposal idea and races to the stadium. Security captures him and begins to remove him from the stadium but Mayor Rudy Giuliani orders them to allow Dave to speak. After admitting that he does have an anger problem and is willing to change, Dave agrees to kiss Linda in front of the stadium in exchange for her marrying him. Linda and Buddy then reveal that the game was the final part of Dave's therapy, and explain that the tormentors and aggravations he has been put through were Buddy's doing (save the sky marshall) to teach him how to unleash his anger in healthy doses to avoid it building up. The three attend a picnic with Buddy's other patients, where Dave plays a final joke on Buddy with a friend holding the group up with a water pistol, and the film ends as the friends sing together.
To be added.
- Buddy picks up a golf club and a baseball bat before choosing the baseball bat to smash the window of the Lexus. In 1994, Jack Nicholson was cited for smashing a man's window with a golf club in a bout of rage. Which is ironic since he portrayed the joker in the film Batman.