After Nick Gardenia (Chase) is forced to rob a bank, and becomes a fugitive, he seeks help from his ex-wife Glenda Parks (Hawn), a public defender. Her current husband, Ira Parks (Grodin), is the Los Angeles county district attorney, who harbors a jealous disdain towards Nick.
Nick Gardenia (Chevy Chase), an out-of-luck writer, has the use of a friend's oceanside cabin in Big Sur, California. He is interrupted by a pair of bank robbers, Warren 'Dex' Dexter (Judd Omen) and B.G. Ramone (Marc Alaimo), who use Nick to rob a bank in Carmel. Their modus operandi is to take an innocent person and force them at gunpoint to rob banks, take the money and toss their captive out of their moving car. Unfortunately for Nick (as in one of Chase's signature pratfalls), he trips in the bank, is helped up and looks directly into a security camera.
The bank's picture of Nick comes to the attention of Los Angeles district attorney Ira Parks (Charles Grodin) when his assistant, Fred (Robert Guillaume), recognizes it to be Parks' wife's ex-husband. Because of his desire to become State Attorney General, Ira is frustrated and upset, thinking this could harm his campaign.
Ira's wife, Glenda (Goldie Hawn), is a lawyer herself. A public defender, Glenda often tries to rehabilitate her clients by giving them odd jobs around their house, as with her chauffeur/butler Chester (T. K. Carter). After a long day in court, Glenda comes home to mixed news—joy for Ira running for Attorney General and surprise when Ira gives her the news about Nick. She wants to defend Nick because of her disbelief that he would ever do such a thing.
The robbers ditch Nick and he desperately makes his way to Glenda and Ira's Brentwood, Los Angeles house. During a party, Glenda, while searching for one of her dogs, finds Nick hiding in her garage. He begs for help and she tries to get him some food, despite most of the leaders of law enforcement being in her house. Nick explains what happened, but Glenda refuses to help unless he turns himself in. Glenda finally agrees to let him sleep in a guest room over the garage.
The next day Nick decides he wants to personally go after the guys who did this to him. After some comically close run-ins with the police, with Ira and with a feisty maid, Aurora De La Hoya (Yvonne Wilder), she manages to keep anyone from knowing Nick was there. He later robs her of her car but then reappears over her garage, and another confrontation ensues between Ira and Glenda.
Ira soon discovers Nick was telling the truth about the two men who forced him to rob the bank. About to have the Governor of California coming to the house for dinner, Glenda must deal with court cases, with her maid having foot surgery (which could ruin the party without the governor's favorite dish, Aurora's chicken pepperoni), and with Chester getting drunk in the kitchen. The party takes a hilarious turn when Nick, coming back to turn himself in, ends up serving dinner to the governor, Ira, Glenda, and Fred. The dinner ultimately ends in a fistfight between a jealous Ira and Nick, during which Fred is knocked out.
Nick, Glenda, Ira, Aurora, the dogs and the robbers ultimately end up in the courtroom of Glenda's favorite Judge John Channing (Harold Gould). While the judge is overwhelmed by the happenings in the Parks household, the police bring in the bank robbers. They admit Nick's innocence in exchange for a reduced sentence after getting caught by Aurora and the dogs when they attempted to force her to rob a bank, just like they did Nick.
After all is said and done, Nick is free, but he and Glenda still have unresolved feelings. She decides to stay with Ira and kisses Nick good-bye. Some time later, Ira and Glenda decide to take a car trip to forget recent events. They end up in an accident trying to avoid a cow on the road. Ira breaks his leg, so Glenda has to go for help. She ends up at the only place around: a cabin with all the lights on. Glenda pounds on the door begging for help. The door opens and she discovers the cabin is Nick's.Goldie Hawn as Glenda Gardenia Parks
Chevy Chase as Nicholas 'Nick' J. Gardenia
Charles Grodin as Ira J. Parks
Robert Guillaume as Fred
Yvonne Wilder as Aurora
Harold Gould as Judge John Channing
George Grizzard as Stanley
T. K. Carter as Chester
Judd Omen as Warren 'Dex' Dexter
Marc Alaimo as B. G. Ramone
Chris Lemmon as Policeman
Roger Ebert, in his December 24, 1980 review, said that although Seems Like Old Times made him "laugh out loud", the movie never edged over the line of success. He said, "the good parts were good enough to hold out the promise for more. The movie is Neil Simon's attempt at one of those 1940s-style screwball comedies with lots of surprise entrances and hasty exits and people hiding under the bed. It would be hard to improve on the casting (Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase and Charles Grodin). And there are a couple of really funny, sustained sequences." The film was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor for Charles Grodin.
According to Turner Classic Movies, Neil Simon was inspired by The Talk of the Town. This 1942 comedy starred Cary Grant as a wrongfully accused man hiding out at the home of a beautiful woman, played by Jean Arthur, with Ronald Colman as the third member of the romantic triangle.