Working as a television writer for a low-rated sitcom, Those McAllister's, Taylor Peters (Matthew Broderick) has developed a few vices, such as drinking, drug abuse and compulsive gambling, which have previously damaged his career to the extent that he takes sessions with an analyst only so his wife Lorraine (Maura Tierney) can feel he is taking the cure. Adding to this stressful home life is the discovery that their 20-year-old niece Amanda (Brittany Snow) has run away from home to Las Vegas to work as a prostitute. Although he writes a good comic scene for his lead actor Ed Begley, Jr., Taylor still has the need to run off to the track to play the horses, his only vice, but when his wife discovers it and threatens him with divorce, Taylor agrees to go to Amanda and try to get her into a rehab community in Malibu. Taylor goes to Las Vegas and locates Amanda and realizes that, even though she is involved in a dangerous profession, she has accumulated wealth and retained a relatively refined attitude about life. During the rescue, Taylor's drinking and drug addiction returns and his relationship with his wife crumbles, but he learns a large lesson about life and bonds with Amanda, entreating her to make some positive choice about her own life.