Synopsis:Things are going well for Owen Patrick. He’s the top salesman at his company, a promising apprentice working under best friend and mentor, Regional Sales Manager Barry Landers. When the young hot-shot receives a promotion it’s no shock, but even the cocksure Owen is taken aback by just how far up the ladder he’s been boosted. His new job? Regional Sales Manager. His first duty? Firing Barry. The next day it comes out that Barry has committed suicide because he felt that he wasted his life trying to be the best instead of focusing on other more important aspects of life. Devastated by the news of Barry’s death, Owen is racked with guilt and quits his new job in a fiery, insult-ridden tirade with the idea of reevaluating his life.
Owen heads home where Kyle, his morally challenged roommate is busy trying to start his own porn site. Owen tells his friend about what happened at work so the two decide to drown their sorrows at a local pub where an open mic night is underway. At the bar Owen meets Laura, an aspiring talent agent and the two instantly hit it off. Kyle convinces Owen to get the old band back together to perform a song in front of a hostile audience. After bombing on stage, Owen attempts to drown out the boos with a drunken rant about how winning isn’t everything in life. Despite his drunkenness Owen actually brings up some good points and wins the audience over.
Later that night Laura approaches Owen and asks him if he has ever considered being a motivational speaker, or in Owen’s case a DEMOTIVATIONAL speaker. Owen reluctantly agrees to embark on his new career with Laura as his talent agent and the clueless Kyle as his manager. Things immediately go wrong for Owen when he ends up speaking to his old company for his first job and is nearly beaten to a pulp by the same coworkers he insulted when he quit his job.
Meanwhile, Troy “Be the Best”Brinkley, a staple on the motivational speaking circuit for the past decade, is seeing his career take a nose dive. His “Be the Best”philosophy has gone stale and as a result his sponsors are pulling out left and right. He’s having trouble paying bills, the majority of which are child support obligations for his many illegitimate children. Troy needs to come up with some new material fast or he could face financial ruin. Troy tells Arnold, his agent, to look around for some new speaking talent that he can “borrow”material from. Arnold lucks out when he overhears Owen preaching Demotivation at a Sex Addicts meeting and Arnold arranges to have Owen, Laura and Kyle meet with Troy to discuss Owen’s philosophy. But what Troy is really planning is to get Owen to work for him so he can steal his material.
After the meeting Troy takes Owen out for drinks to discuss “the business.” After it’s clear that Owen won’t work for Troy, Troy gets Owen drunk and records some of Owen’s past horror stories of being a soulless salesman. Troy then invites Owen to be a guest at his next speaking engagement, and Owen accepts gladly having no idea that Troy has set him up.
When the drunken Owen returns home Kyle tries to warn him about Troy. Owen accuses Kyle of trying to sabotage his career and the two decide to no longer be friends.
Owen and Laura go to Troy’s speaking engagement and Troy shows a video recording that he edited to destroy Owen’s reputation. Laura is furious with Owen and refuses to talk to him. The kicker: Owen gets banned from the International Speakers Association and can no longer be a registered public speaker.
After learning that Laura is now working for Troy, Owen reconciles with Kyle and they hatch a plan to overthrow Troy at the International Speaker’s Association’s (ISA) annual awards dinner. If he can win Speaker of the Year, the truth will be in the pudding. Enlisting the recently fired Arnold, Owen learns that his banishment from public speaking can be overturned if he completes a rigorous 200 hour speaking schedule and earns the endorsement of a corporate sponsor. He’ll then be eligible for Speaker of the Year.
Working tirelessly preaching Demotivation in coffee shops, elementary schools, and even prisons, at the last moment Owen finally meets the criteria to be considered for Speaker of the Year at the awards dinner.
At the awards dinner Troy has got Laura believing his own hype, but slips her a little something in her drink just to be certain. As they discuss Troy’s impending win, Owen and Kyle storm into the room with the documentation allowing Owen to be considered for Speaker of the Year. Troy is initially irate but gives in, after all he’s got one final trick up his sleeve: giving Owen the drink that was intended for Laura. As the awards ceremony begins, the drugs begin to take their effect on Owen.
Owen is introduced as a late candidate for Speaker of the Year. He can barely keep his eyes open and as the votes tally it is a close race between Owen and Troy. Troy eventually emerges as the winner by one vote and runs up onto the stage like a spoiled little child. Kyle then realizes that Owen has passed out from the drug cocktail and didn’t vote for himself. After much confusion Owen punches in his vote and it is revealed that for the first time in ISA history there is a tie.
In the event of a tie both speakers are given the floor for two minutes to sum up their motivational philosophy. In other words, it’s time for a speech off! After a coin flip it’s determined that Owen will speak first. Struggling to stay awake, Owen remains on point about society’s unhealthy obsession with winning and success, and he has members of the crowd near tears with his honesty and passion. Troy goes next. He tries to rehash a tired speech that we saw him make in the 1980’s but the audience isn’t buying it. His entire philosophy crumbles in front of his peers. He pees his pants and runs away.
Owen is presented with the Speaker of the Year trophy and is asked by the president of the ISA what his first order of business will be. The answer? Doing absolutely nothing.