The plot mirrors that of the original film. Roger (Heder) is a put-upon loser in society - subject to ridicule from co-workers and more - who dreams of dating the foreign graduate student who lives in his building (Barrett). To overcome his lack of self-esteem, he signs up for a course taught by Dr. P (Thornton). After participating in lessons similar to those in Fight Club, Roger begins to develop a sense of personal pride. Wanting to prove that he's still got his edge, Dr. P starts competing with Roger for Amanda. After a competitive tennis match in which Roger humiliates him, Dr. P enlists the talents of Roger's classmates to frame Roger as an obsessive stalker. Roger uses his authority as a meter reader to impound Dr. P's car, and in retaliation Dr. P gets Roger fired from his job. Roger learns of Dr. P's plans for Amanda from a depressed former student (Stiller) and with the aid of fellow losers in the class sets out to save Amanda and prove Dr. P's duplicity.
In the original 1960 film Potter is the ally of the hero, who helps him try to get the girl. The villain played by Terry-Thomas uses his instinctive gift at lifemanship to outdo the hero. In the remake, the role of the villain and the professor have been merged into one character.
In the original the hero ends up rejecting the philosophy of lifemanship in favor of behaving honestly. In the remake the hero becomes a master of lifemanship, outwitting his own teacher.