Submitted by Tornado Dragon
By the time Dan reaches Laguna Del Mar and boards the chartered yacht that Lori and her family, the Cronenbergs, have been traveling in, he discovers that they have already been taken hostage by a group of pirates – led by Victor Honeywell and his son Chris – at the nearby resort that they have been staying at. He hides in one of the yacht’s closets while Chris and two other pirates drive the yacht to a cove below a house on a hill that they are using as a base (Victor and another one of the pirates take the family to the same house in a couple of jeeps), and after they arrive and the two pirates head for the shore, Dan fights and overwhelms Chris and locks him in the fish locker. He then arms himself with a machine gun and a grenade belt, and after sending out a call for help over the radio, he swims to shore and goes up to the house.
Shortly after Lori and her family arrive there, Dan is able to get Lori away from everyone else, and with some planning and some usage of the weapons that Dan brought, they manage to rescue the other Cronenbergs and escape in one of the jeeps, though the pirates pursue them in the other. When Dan and company are able to put enough distance between themselves and the villains, Dan makes the Cronenbergs get out and run back to the yacht while he draws the pirates off, and he ends up using his jeep to push the pirates over a cliff and into the ocean in a surprise attack. The villains are found by an arriving police boat, and Dan joins Lori and her family on the yacht.
While Dan and Lori are enjoying a drink together at a hotel a couple of days later, Bill approaches them and tells Dan that he now considers him a part of his family. He then tells him and Lori that, out of appreciation for what they’ve done, he has chartered a brand-new sailboat for them so they can have their own private cruise up the coast for a couple of days before meeting him and the rest of the family in Cabo San Lucas. He also informs them that he found the perfect skipper for them, and the skipper turns out to be Mac, who had tried to help Dan reach the yacht and also warned him about the pirates. Mac pretends that he doesn’t know Dan and promises Bill that he will give Dan and Lori a great cruise, but shortly after they set sail, Mac hops overboard and swims back to shore, having opted to let Dan and Lori enjoy their trip alone.
After spending longer than he feels he needs to with Mac (Robert Loggia) on his run-down sailboat trying to catch up to the Crystal Slipper yacht that Lori (Wendy Gazelle) and the rest of the Cronenbergs (father Bill [Monte Markham], mother Buffy [Shelley Fabares], and younger sister Ginger [Dah-ve Chodan]) are traveling on, Dan (John Cusack) decides to jump overboard and swim to some land close by in the hope of finding a quick way to get to Laguna Del Mar, which is where the Cronenbergs are heading to. Mac tells him to trust him because he hasn’t steered him wrong so far, and Dan yells that he ought to be on some tropical island paradise eating lavish spreads with Lori right now instead of sailing on this rat-infested boat with an unscrupulous buccaneer rogue-type like him. Mac sternly tells him that he has been keeping him here because he didn’t want to scare him his first time at sea; his friends on the Crystal Slipper are going to be in a lot of trouble, so it would be better for him to stick with him. Unwilling to listen, Dan gets his stuff and jumps into the water, and as he heads for the shore, Mac warns him that he is making a big mistake. Just after Dan gets on land, he discovers that he DID make a big mistake when he is quickly captured by corrupt police officers and taken to jail. Mac sees this and hops overboard himself.
The following morning, Mac – mainly out of wanting to repay Dan for saving him from drowning when they sailed through a storm during their journey – breaks Dan out of his cell, and then they commandeer a police jeep and make their escape. They lead the cops on a vehicular chase through town until they stop to hide in a cornfield, and after doing so, Mac informs Dan that the Valle Verde Airstrip is located on the other side of this field and he will be able to catch a plane to Laguna Del Mar from there. When Dan brings up that the cops will be looking for them there, Mac assures him that they won’t be because he plans to get them to keep chasing after their jeep. He then tells Dan that, if his hunch is right, the people on the Crystal Slipper really need him; Chris (Ben Stiller), the first mate, is actually a pirate who helped hijack his boat last year, and he is the reason why he has been trying to help Dan get to the yacht. He also tells Dan that, though he doesn’t know if Chris is truly working as a crewman or if he is seeking to hijack the Crystal Slipper now, he knows that Dan must get to his girlfriend and her family immediately. He then pushes Dan out of the jeep, drives out into the open, and gets the cops’ attention, and after he draws the cops away from the area, Dan sneaks away to the airport and gets on a plane bound for Laguna Del Mar.
Meanwhile, Lori leaves her family’s room on the resort in Laguna Del Mar that they are staying at and goes aboard the Crystal Slipper in order to try to call Dan on the radio, but she ends up finding the body of a freshly-murdered Capt. Andrew (Terrence Cooper) in one of the closets. She returns to shore and runs into Victor Honeywell (Jerry Stiller), an older man vacationing at the resort with his young girlfriend Carmelina (Andaluz Russell) who recently befriended her and her family, and she tells him that someone killed the captain on her family’s yacht. She then runs into her room and gives Bill, Buffy, Ginger, and Chris the terrible news, but then Chris suddenly pulls out his revolver and aims it at the family before telling Bill that all “they” want is his boat. Victor and Carmelina then come in, along with resort employees Rico (Roberto Sneider) and Tommy Ray (Ted White), but Victor reveals that he is Chris’ father and that Carmelina, Rico, and Tommy Ray are pirates under his command when he pulls out his own gun and scolds Chris for letting the family get near the yacht and giving them a big mess to deal with. Victor soon orders the family to start packing up their belongings, then he orders Chris to go out to the yacht with Carmelina and Tommy Ray and drive it to their pickup point, and he and Rico will meet them there. After the Cronenbergs get their things together, Victor and Rico force them to get into a couple of jeeps parked out behind the resort and then drive off.
By this point, Dan has made it to the resort and has started looking for Lori and her family, and he notices the Crystal Slipper anchored out on the water and takes a rowboat out to it. However, when he gets on board, he sees that Chris, Carmelina, and Tommy Ray have taken charge of it, and he overhears Carmelina mentioning that Victor plans to dump the Cronenbergs at sea. He hides in the closet that Capt. Andrew’s body is in while the pirate trio drives the yacht to their pickup point, and after the yacht comes to a stop near a cove, Dan watches as Chris loads a machine gun and gives it to Tommy Ray before he and Carmelina disembark on a motorboat. Shortly afterward, Dan fights and disarms Chris before locking him in the fish locker, then takes another machine gun and puts on a grenade belt before getting on the radio and making a call for help, telling anyone who is listening to send somebody out to the Crystal Slipper because the captain has been murdered and the people who did it are trying to kill him and the Cronenbergs.
Dan then swims into the cove, and after spotting the motorboat lying amongst some rocks at the base of a hill, he notices an old house at the top of said hill and climbs up to it, then hides in the crawlspace beneath it. Moments later, he sees Victor and Rico make their arrival out front with Lori and her family, and when the pirates take their eyes completely off of Lori, Dan gets her attention, and she comes into the crawlspace and hugs him with relief. She tells him that they need to get help now, and he shows her the grenade belt and replies that this is all the help that they are going to get. He soon takes her behind the house and shows her the motorboat down below, and he takes out one of the grenades and tells her that he plans to go down to that boat and blow it up with the grenade, and after the villains head down there to check it out, they will get the rest of her family into one of the jeeps and then hightail it out of here. However, he quickly realizes that that plan won’t work due to the fact that he will have almost no time to get back up to the house after he pulls the pin, so Lori suggests that they throw it from the roof of the house. She then takes the grenade and uses her climbing skills to get up to the roof, and as Victor is ordering her family to move some boxes in the house down to the beach, Lori throws the grenade down into the motorboat and destroys it. Victor orders Tommy Ray to come with him to check out the source of the blast, and he orders Rico (and Carmelina) to stay and watch the family. After Victor and Tommy Ray leave, Lori jumps down from the ceiling onto Carmelina and dazes her while Dan bursts in and fires some rounds from the machine gun into the air to create confusion, which gives Bill a chance to grab Rico’s handgun and knock him silly with a punch to the face.
Dan and Lori get everyone outside and into one of the jeeps with them, and as Victor and Tommy Ray make their return and Carmelina and Rico join them, Dan buys him and the Cronenbergs enough time to start up the jeep and speed off by first firing his machine gun at the villains and then throwing another grenade at them. As Victor and the other pirates give chase, Bill shoots at them from the rear with both the machine gun and Rico’s handgun while Dan drives, and Dan soon tosses another grenade at the antagonists that cause a palm tree to come crashing down in front of them and delay their pursuit. After Dan and company manage to put enough distance on the road between them and the pirates, Dan stops the jeep and orders everybody else to get out and go down another nearby road that will take them to the beach and the Crystal Slipper, explaining that he plans to get the pirates to continue chasing after the jeep. After the Cronenbergs take off, he drives until he smashes through a warning sign in the road and sees that the road comes to an end at the edge of a cliff, so he backs up a short distance and then hides in the forest to wait for the antagonists to pass by. Once they do, he drives up behind them and rams his jeep into theirs before jumping out, and the pirates go flying over the cliff and into the ocean. After they surface, we see an arriving police boat closing in on them. When Dan spots the Crystal Slipper and sees that Lori and her family made it safely aboard, he jumps off another cliff and swims out to them.
A couple of days later, Dan and Lori are shown enjoying a drink together at a hotel restaurant when Bill comes up to them and tells Dan that, from now on, he is a part of his family and they are very lucky to have him. He then points out a brand-new sailboat sitting out on the water and tells Dan and Lori that, out of appreciation for what they both did, he and Buffy decided to charter that sailboat for them so they can have their own private cruise up the coast for a couple of days before meeting him, Buffy, and Ginger in Cabo San Lucas. He also says that he found the perfect skipper for them, having met him at the hotel’s bar last night. Mac then suddenly walks up to them, with Buffy and Ginger right behind him, and Mac pretends that he doesn’t know Dan at all and assures Bill and Buffy that he will give Dan and Lori a great cruise. Mac then tells the young duo to get their things together so they can leave in time to catch the afternoon tide, and after he walks off, Dan quietly tells Lori all about who Mac is and the role he has played in his quest to reach her.
Bill, Buffy, and Ginger fly off to Cabo in an airplane, and we see Mac working the helm of the sailboat while Dan and Lori relax in the sun. After getting a short distance out into the open sea, Mac asks Dan if he can sail this boat, and Dan more or less confirms that he can. Mac thus proceeds to give him his captain’s hat before hopping overboard and swimming back to shore, having opted to let Dan and Lori enjoy their cruise alone. Dan and Lori have a laugh about this before sharing a kiss to close out the film.