Struggling and unhappy at the Grand Lakes University, Jason Melon (Keith Gordon) looks to his father, Thornton Melon (Rodney Dangerfield), who never went to college himself and yet is still exceedingly wealthy. Jason proposes to quit school and go to work for his father, but Thornton is convinced that his son can and will succeed at school. In order to convince Jason to continue his schooling, Thornton proposes to enroll along with him at the university. At the university, Jason is somewhat of an introvert, while his father is outgoing and frequently "the life of the party". Despite being academically unsuitable, Thornton makes a big splash on campus, using his connections and money to become well known and popular. Rather than do the work himself, Thornton hires the best and brightest to write papers and attend class for him. When called out on his behavior, Thornton must choose between using his power and charisma to cheat his way through school, or actually proving to his son that he can finish what he started.