Snooty Ivy League English professor Kelly Novak literally falls for dashing fireman Doug Kelly while trying to stop her suicidal teaching assistant from jumping off a ledge. But hurdles await the happy coupleâ€”namely, the widower's four rambunctious kids.
Kelly's Scottish clan arrives for a kilt ceremony to welcome Doug into the family, but the date conflicts with the opening day of baseball season - a tradition for Doug and the kids.
Kelly causes family strife when she becomes aware that Sean's lack of enthusiasm for the annual Junior Firefighters competition means he wants to buck family tradition by not becoming a fireman, while tomboy Maureen is only too willing. Irritated by Doug's insistence that any man can beat any woman at any sport, Kelly challenged him to a fencing duel.
Before Kelly and Doug can tie the knot, Sean accidentally gives Kelly's wedding ring to his latest girlfriend and Maureen decides she'd rather watch the NBA playoffs.
Kelly's plan to boost Maureen's self-image backfires; Doug despairs that his girl is growing up.
Threats and punishments are getting anywhere with Sean, who continues to flunk his courses, so when Kelly notices his promising doodles in the margins of his test papers, she persuades him to try an art class. As an example of what can happen when you abandon a talent, she produces her own 690-page unpublished novel about a saucier suffering through the Cordon Bleu cooking school - and gives to Doug to read. (""What don't you just ask me if you look fat in that dress and we can cut straight to the fight?"") Meanwhile, Brian decides to go into training to become Maureen's new buddy, by taking every punishment she can devise over a 72-hour period.
Jealousy rears its ugly head atop a fire ladder as Doug spies on Kelly and her attractive former lover from Oxford during their collaboration in the rare book room of the university library. Meanwhile, Brian masterminds Sean's campaign for class president.