Larry Wilson (Powell) is an insufferable stuffed shirt of a businessman. While on a passenger liner on the way back to America, Larry is struck on the head. He's knocked out, only to wake up some hours later...and he's George Carey, suave, charming con artist. It seems that nine years ago, George got into a fight with another crook, and was struck on the head. He suffered a complete loss of memory, after which he reintegrated himself into society as "Larry Wilson", the insufferable boring stuffed shirt. Now he's George again, and with the help of "Doc" Ryan, another con artist, George resolves to go back to Larry's Pennsylvania home town and pull a con on the gullible locals.
George doesn't remember his life as Larry any more than "Larry" remembered his real identity as George. And it turns out that "Larry" had a wife, the ravishing Kay (Myrna Loy). Kay has actually started divorce proceedings against Larry, because he is such an insufferable boring stuffed shirt, but George is enchanted with her. He starts putting the moves on Kay, trying to win her affections, which complicates the scam he's running.
One of fourteen films pairing Powell and Loy.
- The Bore: We only get one scene with "Larry" before he's whacked on the head and wakes up as George, but it's enough to establish him as an awful bore, droning on and on about the dinky town he lives in.
- But Liquor Is Quicker: George puts some rum in Kay's coffee to loosen her up. She catches him.
- The Con: George, Doc, and George's old con artist partner Duke run a con in which they stage a barrel of oil under a local lake, and then trick the local rubes into buying up the land around the lake at high prices.
- Dramatic Drop: After he's punched by Duke, George wakes up as "Larry" again. Kay is about to whack him over the head with a vase to turn him back into George when he reveals that he was only faking. She drops the vase and embraces him, and the film ends.
- Easy Amnesia: Played straight, as not only did "Larry" lose all his memory of life as George, he somehow became a completely different person with a personality that was directly opposite to his previous one. And then when he bonks his head again on the ship, he wakes up as George, and has forgotten his new life as thoroughly as he forgot his old one nine years ago.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: George needs one after waking up on the cruise ship and finding out that he has lost nine years.
- Match Cut: From George dejectedly leaving Kay's room after she tells him to get out, to George walking across his office.
- Romantic False Lead: Herbert, Kay's new boyfriend, who might as well have a "Not William Powell" sign hanging around his neck.
- Scout-Out: George is not happy to find out that Larry was a leader of the local "Junior Rangers" troop. The head Junior Ranger is played by Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer.
- Taxidermy Is Creepy: One of Larry the bore's boring habits was taxidermy. George is creeped out when he's led to "his" room and finds himself surrounded by stuffed animals.