1950s movie darlings Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello take a break from their normal Midwestern routine to visit their daughter at her southern California beach apartment. At first bewildered by the new wave lifestyle they encounter, Frankie and Annette soon join the fun to become a beach couple of the 1980s.
Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda Wyss). When Beth dumps Lane, he decides to kill himself, making bumbling attempts at suicide. Outside of his morbid endeavors, Lane spends time with his oddball buddy, Charles (Curtis Armstrong), and befriends Monique (Diane Franklin), a visiting French student. Eventually, Lane resolves to race Beth’s obnoxious new beau on the ski slopes, with unexpected results.