Walter Fielding (Hanks) and his violinist girlfriend Anna (Long) are swindled into buying an old house that's falling apart at the seams. As they keep getting further in debt in their efforts to restore the house, the pressure starts taking a toll on the couple. Part of Hanks's early period of comedies made before Philadelphia, the film is also one of the reasons Shelley Long quit the cast of Cheers hoping to make a transition to movies.
The Money Pit provides examples of:
- The Ace: Max.
- The Alleged House: Buying, living in, and attempting to repair one of these is central to the plot.
- "Begone" Bribe: To avoid some regulations.
- Big Fancy House: Eventually, anyway.
- Book-Ends: Fielding's dad.
- Burger Fool: Walter catches a ride home with a pizza delivery guy dressed as a stereotypical Italian chef, driving a ludicrous Volkswagen Beetle completely covered in flashing lights and blaring a goofy song about pizza from external speakers.
- Con Man: The husband/wife team who stick Walter and Anna with the titular fixer-upper.
- Drama Queen: Both Anna and Walter, when driven to a breaking point. Leads to a big zig-zag between Ham-to-Ham Combat and Snark-to-Snark Combat in this sequence.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: The permit guy. What little we see of him suggests that he's a gigantic asshole.
- Hello, Nurse!: When Anna and Walter are having their big argument (see Drama Queen, above), she's wearing a very form-fitting red dress. The construction workers keep ogling her or trying to proposition!
- I Lied: It's only after Anna's on the verge of breaking up with Walter for good that Max comes clean about what happened the night she spent at his loft. To that point, he'd been letting her think they'd slept together in a ploy to get back with her:"You slept in the bed, and I took the sofa. Sex would have been a miracle."
- Jerkass: Max again.
- Karma Houdini: Averted for Walter's father. The last scene in the film is him and his new wife buying a gorgeous mansion in South America — from the same two con artists who sold Walter and Anna their lemon. Played straight for the con artists themselves, though...
- Laughing Mad: Walter tends to do this a lot when under stress.
- Lonely Rich Kid:Fielding: Benny, if you don't loan me that money, I'll...
Benny: You'll what, huh? You'll what?
Fielding: ...I'll not like you anymore!!
Benny: [sad tone] ...Awright.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Immediately following their vicious, end-of-the-relationship fight over her cheating with Max (that she's unknowingly innocent of), Anna slams the door and bursts into horrified Tears of Remorse.
- Pet the Dog: Max convinces Walter to make up with Anna by reminding him that, being a more decent man than he, losing her would affect Walter far more than it would a guy like Max. Of course, this only comes after Max sharply Kicked The Dog by tricking Anna into thinking she'd cheated on Walter, in hopes of splitting them up.
- Rewatch Bonus: Notice how carefully Estelle avoids all the pratfalls and hazards of the house we're soon to see when giving Anna and Walter the tour.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Anna has Max and Walter.
- Running Gag: "They testing missiles here, or what?"
- Shady Real Estate Agent: He even celebrates with his staff when Fielding decides to buy the house
- Shockingly Expensive Bill: Subverted in the asking price of the house; played straight when they have to pay to repair it.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Hoping to clean the family name, Fielding tries constantly to make up for the money his dad embezzled.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Between Anna and Walter:
- Spoiled Brat: Benny.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Carlos, or that's his excuse(!).
- The Unfair Sex: Played with. While it is revealed Anna didn't actually cheat with Walter, she is unaware at first and convinced out of principle that Walter should forgive her. As she puts herself "He can't forgive me, so I can't forgive him." In the end Walter is convinced to make up with her and a happy ending ensues. The only reason Anna believes Walter should forgive her for sleeping with Max is because Walter spent an entire evening, from sitting down to dinner 'til after going to bed, nagging her over whether anything happened between her and Max, constantly promising that if anything did happen he would be perfectly okay with it, and not blame her or hold her responsible. Anna actually believes him, which is why she expects him to forgive her and sees his subsequent reaction and behavior as him being a hypocrite, which is why she can't forgive him. Still, it's hard to believe Walter would be owed forgiveness on this somewhat spurious liability if the roles were reversed.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: Anna.
- White Collar Crime: The reason Fielding's father is abroad.
- Whole Plot Reference: Suspiciously similar to the 1948 classic Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: One of Walter's clients is a rock band that's taken to wearing dresses as their newest angle. They later show up as bridesmaids at his wedding.