The last single guy left standing lies to all his former drinking buddies that he’s got six months left to live in order to get them all to party with him “one last time” on a road trip down to Mexico for a Million-Dollar Marlin Fishing Tournament.
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Zack can’t ever get them to break free do anything fun with him anymore. Until one day, he gets a brilliant idea after meeting a man at his doctor’s office who is dying of pancreatic cancer – but living more fully than Zack and all his friends put together.
Zack is inspired to switch their urine samples and lie to all his friends – and their wives – that he has but six weeks left to live and they must all drop everything immediately to honor his dying wish: one last “boys trip” to a famous fishing tournament.
But the tournament is expensive. And they have no boat. They do find a skipper at their favorite bar who agrees to go with them. Maxwell secretly pulls in some favors from the Make A Wish Foundation to get them into the tournament.
The Foundation is run by Amelia, a very attractive woman that Zack has almost cute-met in a series of near misses already. Her father died of pancreatic cancer so she is especially moved to help.
When the guys arrive, Zack is shocked by the huge fiesta in the street. Turns out they really pull out all the stops – only, to his horror – all this fuss is for him – PR arranged by the Make a Wish Foundation and the tournament. He is given the key to the city. Zack wants to confess to his friends but everything got out of hand so fast.
Rick Sitram, a cocky, handsome millionaire, is also in the race. He is one of Maxwell’s potential investors and he has a state-of-the-art sports fishing yacht. Rick lures their skipper away. Now the guys have no boat and no skipper.
The first day of competition is the next morning but the guys party all night. Day One of the tournament, Rick reports catching a huge marlin. But really, he’s cheating: he brought the marlin with him – and froze it – and simply dropped it out of their freezer, already hooked on the line, and let it dethaw in the tropical waters as they hauled it back in.
Amelia is the only one to question that the fish is still frozen. But Rick passes it off that they were so far off, they had to put it on ice. The tournament Director buys it and declares Rick the winner of the first day.
The guys are discouraged. Their boat is tiny and they have no skipper. Much less any knowledge or talent. They are weekend warriors. Getting seasick. Gordon’s wife has gone into labor – again – and he has to return for the birth of his child. Now they are but three.
Catholic Zack goes to a local church to confesses to the priest and pray. The Priest is Father Juan Grande, a legend in the fishing world. Everybody thought he was just an urban myth – but here he is in the flesh. Albeit, Father Juan Grande is lucky to clear 4″ – his name an inside joke for those in the know. His coming out of retirement to skipper Zack’s boat creates a buzz in the betting community and raises the stakes around town.
Now all Zack needs is a fourth person. Turns out that the tiny boat they fished on the first day is actually Amelia’s and as she’s already registered on a press pass, she can legitimately be their fourth. Falling for each other, Zack teases that all she has to do is wipe sweat off his brow and toss them beers. She is appalled by their hubris and ignorance.
All the anglers follow Father Juan Grande’s every move as he is expected to know the waters like the back of his hand. He manages to out maneuver and evade most of the boats but trickster cheater Rick has bugged their boat to beat the Father with their superior equipment. Amelia lands a marlin but is forced to cut bait when two killer whales circle their catch to feed.
That night, Zack confesses the truth to his friends. He isn’t going to die. Rick overhears him and convinces Amelia Zack’s been lying to get into her pants – and now her job is on the line. She is furious. Hurt but also elated. Wildly conflicted.
Rick tries to get Zack’s boat disqualified since they entered the race under false pretenses. Father Juan Grande convinces Zack to succumb to a urine test. Sure they’re going to get kicked out of the tournament, at least they’ll have one more day to fish before the results are back. Father Juan Grande, with his sterling local reputation, handles the test.
The third day begins. While they are on the water, the tournament director announces to all over the radio that Zack is indeed dying. Zack is in shock. He really does have cancer! No one else understands his delayed processing – they’ve all been coping with the grief all along – that’s what they came down here for. And Amelia? Don’t even get her started. Hell hath no fury…
The foursome continues fishing. Right before the 5 PM cut off, both Maxwell and Zack get strikes. But the rules are, they have to stay with the first catch: Maxwell’s. Zack decides to take Amelia’s kitesurfing board to fight his marlin man-o-a-man-o while the boat goes after Maxwell’s.
A jet skier cuts Maxwell’s line and they go back for Zack. He is still struggling with his marlin alone and isolated at sea – truly his last battle. Zack lands the marlin – a legendary grander that Father Juan Grande had pursued throughout his fishing career.
Their team wins the competition and a huge purse. Monty decides to stay and start a microbrewery with a local. Zack donates half his money to Father Juan Grande’s church and the other half to Amelia’s Make a Wish Foundation. But when Zack goes to say goodbye, Father Juan Grande pushes him into a fountain of holy water and tells him to get re-tested immediately.
The results reveal a miracle. Zack is cured. He and Amelia end up together. But Father Juan Grande dies of pancreatic cancer just two months later. He switched the urine samples so Zack could stay in the race.