Philip Fielder (Chad Lowe) is a successful businessman working in advertising who hopes to receive a major promotion. While he's working on an important project, his sister Jill (Ellen Greene) shows up with her autistic eight-year-old Zach (K Sun Ray), asking him to babysit for the weekend while she attends an art show in San Diego. She dies in a car accident before she can return home, leaving Philip the sole caretaker of Zach. As Philip bonds with Zach, he learns about the importance of family, rekindles his relationship with his ex-girlfriend Holly (Marin Hinkle), and makes an important decision.
Fielder's Choice contains examples of:
- And Starring: ...and George Segal.
- Comforting Comforter: Twice in the movie, Zach falls asleep somewhere, and Philip carries him up to his room and pulls a blanket over him.
- Commonality Connection: Philip and Zach have more in common than Philip cares to admit, most notably their shared passion and talent for art.
- Companion Cube: Zach's "dog," Herbert, a statue made out of spare parts. The first time Philip and Zach go back to Jill's empty house, Philip makes him leave Herbert because he thinks he's ugly, and because he already has a real dog named Caesar. In the end, when Philip picks Zach up from Rose's house, he brings Herbert along to surprise him.
- Desk Sweep of Rage: After Philip leaves Zach at his cousin Rose's house, Zach builds a pyramid of tennis balls with a lego fence, like he does every morning. But then he angrily attacks the pyramid with his backpack, knocking it off the table.
- Disappeared Dad: Zach's father has been "out of the picture" for so long that his current whereabouts are unknown. Zach even has the same last name as his mother and uncle.
- Dog Got Sent to a Farm: For days, Philip tells Zach that his mother is still in San Diego.
- Elderly Blue-Haired Lady: Zach refers to an old woman he crashes into at Philip's office as "the old lady with the blue hair." The woman snaps, "This is distinguished silver, young man!"
- Family Versus Career: Philip realizes he doesn't want to end up like his boss, sixty-three years old with a lot of money but no wife or children.
- The Klutz: Zach has a tendency to bump into things and knock things over.
- The Runaway: Zach thinks Philip doesn't want him anymore, so he runs away to his mother's house, which is still mostly untouched.