Franklin Maurice Hatchett (Tucker) is a small-time car wash hustler and ticket scalper who owes money to a local mob leader. He gets dimed out to the police by an investigating news reporter named James Russell (Sheen) after unintentionally thwarting Russell's attempts to have him confess his crimes on camera, and is taken to jail. When placed on a prison transport unit, the transport unit is attacked by mercenaries who are the men of Villard, a French criminal who was also on the transport unit who decides to bring Franklin along for the moment as they're handcuffed together, and they escape on a helicopter, only to jump out later after realizing that Villard plans to kill him. Sought by police and criminals, Franklin decides to sough Russell to make a deal for protection.
This film features examples of:
- Breaking Out the Boss: Diamond thief Raymond Villard is sprung from a prison transport bus by his partner and several mercenaries, who kill all of the other guards and prisoners except for one man who is handcuffed to Villard.
- Clear My Name: Because Franklin survived and escaped the prison bus attack, the police believe that he had something to do with it and they believe he's as dangerous the ones who set up the attack. He works with James Russel to help take down the ones responsible for the attack.
- Chekhov's Gun: After being incredulous over a Vic Damone Greatest Hits Album commercial, Franklin poses as his son.
- Chekhov's Skill: James Russel know a lot about weapons and how to remove and get free from handcuffs due to doing various reports on both topics while he was a reporter
- French Jerk: The French diamond thieves are humorless and quick to commit murder.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Grace has blonde hair and is affectionate with her fiancee, friendly with Franklin, and quick to defend James and Franklin once their secrets are exposed.
- Home Field Advantage: Franklin tells the bad guys that they'll meet where he says to meet because he knows the layout of where he wants to meet at.
- Ignore the Disability: Hilarious variant. Before walking into his rehearsal dinner, Russell tells Hatchett not to mention his fiancee's weight. The instant the (incredibly hot) fiancee comes to the door, Hatchett immediately says "You're fat" to her chagrin. He then clarifies that he meant "P-H-A-T: pretty, hot, and tempting."
- Mêlée à Trois: The climax features a shootout at a baseball stadium with four factions: the two heroes and a couple of Gangbanger friends of Franklin, the Inspector Javert cops, the French thieves and their mercenaries, and several Mafia goons who Franklin offered a cut of the diamonds in exchange for muscle, but who are planning to betray and kill him.
- Poor Communication Kills: Franklin never brings up the diamonds that Raymond is after to James Russel and they beat him up thinking he knows about them.
- Shot in the Ass: Used (hilariously) as a Trust Password of sorts:Franklin: Tell him I was there when he shot Baby Bro at MacArthur Park.
Bodyguard: Where'd he shoot Baby Bro?
Franklin: At MacArthur Park, you big dumb mother—
Bodyguard: Nah! Where'd he shoot him?
Franklin: In the ass! Everybody knows he got shot in the ass!
- Trust Password: Franklin tells a bodyguard to tell his boss that he "was there when he shot Baby Bro at MacArthur Park" in the ass to prove his identity.
- Uncle Tomfoolery: As expected from a Chris Tucker character, Franklin is a black character whose role is to serve as comic relief by showing the traits that characterize some of the stereotypes of black men.