Edwards plays Jonathan Moore, a shy college student and a champion at the campus paintball game "Gotcha", who, while on vacation with his friend in Paris, is seduced by and quickly falls in love with an older woman named Sasha, played by Fiorentino, who turns out to be a spy, the two of them running into trouble in Germany. Once he comes home, he finds a canister of film in his backpack, and finds himself on the run from ruthless KGB agents and playing a real life version of his game.
Gotcha! provides examples of:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Invoked by Jonathan's friend who pretends to be a terrorist to get women.
- Big Bad: Vlad, the leader of the KGB agents chasing after Jonathan and Sasha.
- Chekhov's Gun: Literally. The tranquiliser gun Jonathan's veterinary professor demonstrates with in class is what Jonathan arms himself in the climax.
- Chekhov's Skill: The Gotcha! Game that Jonathan plays at the beginning with other college students, which consists of hiding and ambushing and trying to shoot one another with paintball guns on the campus. It ends up coming in handy at the end as Jonathan has to evade and take down Soviet KGB agents pursuing him at his college, knowing the grounds better than them, and using a tranquilizer gun instead of a paintball gun to do it, with him succeeding.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jonathan and Manolo, attending college together and getting into adventures in Europe. The tougher Manolo is quite protective of the more sensitive and emotional Jonathan, to the point of having his street gang ambush some CIA agents so he can talk to Sasha alone, and firmly warning her to be honest with his friend, caring about his feelings even if he disagreed with them.
- Irony: Jonathan is an 18-year-old guy with a fairly normal life, who has romantic aspirations of being a James Bond type spy. He seems to have fallen into a romantic dream: a love affair with a beautiful older woman from Czechoslovakia... who is also a spy. At the end, he learns that Sasha, while quite beautiful, is really Cheryl Brewster, an ordinary woman from Pittsburgh who, it is implied, doesn't have that much more experience in the espionage business than Jonathan does.
- Ms. Fanservice: Linda Fiorentino playing a seductive fake Russian lady? Yum.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Sasha's Russian accent vanishes once "Cheryl Brewster, the spy from Pittsburgh" comes clean with Jonathan.
- Precision F-Strike: Two of them, done to perfection. The first is after Jonathan gets back to West Berlin, after undergoing a strip-search at the checkpoint. He greets the American guard, confirms he's in West Berlin, then turns back to face East Berlin, extends his finger, and shouts, "Fuck you!!" He then smiles and bids the guard good evening, and the guard mutters to himself, "I've been wanting to do that for the last six months."
- The second one is when Jonathan and Sasha are arguing, and Sasha starts speaking in an American accent. Jonathan, fed up, demands, "Who the fuck are you?!"
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Jonathan and Manolo respectively. Jonathan is a nerdy, awkward, sensitive, more emotional sort who falls hard and fast for a single woman and has a wealthy background, while Manolo is a more tough, stoic, charismatic womanizer type who is part of a street gang and lower class background. Despite all their differences, they are the best of friends.
- Summon Bigger Fish: At one point, the KGB agents pursuing Jonathan back in the United States try to catch him with Manolo's gang nearby. The gang has a bit of a problem with it. And they are packing shotguns and rifles and the KGB agents are only carrying handguns. The agents wisely (and immediately) skedaddle.
- Wham Line: Near the end, Jonathan and Sasha are in a heated argument, and Sasha finally confesses, "I didn't want to use you!" The line itself isn't the Wham Line part; it's the fact that Sasha says it in an American accent. If you listen carefully, you'll hear Sasha dropping the accent a moment earlier, but Jonathan was too caught up in the moment to notice.