Life is sweet for high-school English teacher and sports coach Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline); he's still living where he grew up, he has a good relationship with his father (Wilford Brimley) and mother (Debbie Reynolds), he's respected by his community, and he's about to marry Emily (Joan Cusack), his fiancée of three years. Fearing she was about to become an old maid, Emily has shed 75 pounds for the upcoming nuptials. But first, the entire town of Greenleaf, IN, settles in to watch the Academy Award telecast, because young stud star Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon), who attended Greenleaf High, has been nominated for an Oscar. What's more, he wins, and in his acceptance speech, singles out Howard -- and announces his favorite teacher is gay. Everyone in town is thunderstruck, including Howard himself. The media descend on the town, particularly Peter Malloy (Tom Selleck), whose job is hanging by a thread. Even worse, Howard's principal Tom Halliwell (Bob Newhart) is shaken by the news, and is toying with firing Howard. The beleaguered teacher tries to convince everyone (and himself) that he's as straight and macho as the next guy; he even tries to follow the rules on a motivational tape, "Be a Man." But his fondness for Barbra Streisand, his theatrical mannerisms, and the fact that he and Emily have yet to make love make everyone's eyebrows stay permanently raised. Meanwhile, out in Hollywood, Cameron, who's really a decent guy, learns about the problems his impulsive comment has caused, and heads back to Greenleaf to see what he can do to help. Howard's mother is fiercely determined to see at least one of her two sons wed -- Walter (Gregory Jbara), the other, is a doofus -- and as the wedding date draws nearer and nearer, poor Howard's life flies even farther out of control.