NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy

Halloween, 1999 – Three best friends – Dean Stanton (Riley Stiles), JT Levine (Oscar Wilson), and Wes Jezenee (Gaius Nolan) – are set to pull a prank on their neighbor by lighting a bag of dog crap and putting it on the porch. The fire then spreads to the scarecrow decoration and goes out of control, and the boys cannot put it out in time. Before the cops show up, Dean rips off a piece of his costume and writes the name “Ricky Stanicky” on the underwear. Cops later find the cloth and cannot find Ricky Stanicky in the school system, so they figure he must be an out-of-town kid causing trouble. The boys then get away with it.

Throughout their adolescent years, the boys use Ricky as an excuse to get themselves out of situations that they caused. 25 years later, Dean (Zac Efron) is dating journalist Erin (Lex Scott Davis) and working with JT (Andrew Santino), who is expecting a baby with his wife Susan (Anja Savcic). Dean gets a call from Wes (Jermaine Fowler), who is now a slacker stoner that lives at home with his boyfriend, pretending to be Ricky so they can sneak out and go to Atlantic City and see Marc Rebillet. The ladies only know of Ricky through what the guys tell them, but they make up the excuse that Ricky’s testicular cancer came back, so they are going to visit him in Albany, NY.

After watching the show, the guys hang out at a bar where they meet a down-on-his-luck performer named Rod Rimestead (John Cena). He performs masturbation-themed parodies of popular rock songs at a club under the name “Rock Hard Rod”. After appearing a bit desperate, JT tells Rod to go away, and Dean follows after him to apologize. Rod leaves Dean with his business card after seeing two thuggish looking guys and then fleeing.

While celebrating, Dean finds multiple missed calls and messages that Susan is going into labor six weeks earlier than anticipated. The guys rush back home to find that Susan already gave birth to a boy named Whitaker. Susan’s mother Leona (Heather Mitchell) presses JT and his friends over where they really were and whether or not Ricky Stanicky actually exists. Wes gets ready to come clean, but Dean and JT cut him off and make up another excuse about how Ricky was actually cancer-free and was celebrating with them, while also talking about how Ricky has done charity work.

The guys leave the hospital and start to panic, as Susan has invited Ricky to Whitaker’s Bris. Dean then suggests they hire an actor to pretend to be Ricky to keep getting away with their lies. Dean contacts Rod, who is performing while dressed as Britney Spears, and when he sees the two big guys from earlier, Rod agrees to go along with Dean’s plan.

The guys pick up Rod at the airport, and he looks like shit because he has decided to go cold turkey on the booze. They give him their “bible” to study that describes their made up history of Ricky Stanicky and give him time to prepare before the Bris.

At the Bris, JT is dismayed to learn that Susan invited his and Dean’s boss, Ted Summerhayes (William H. Macy). Leona once again presses the guys and tries to get them to admit that Ricky Stanicky doesn’t exist, until Rod arrives, totally in character. Erin and Susan take kindly to “Ricky”, as does Erin’s cousin Carley (Apple Farrelly). Dean and JT introduce Rod to Summerhayes, where Rod mentions a merger that Summerhayes is trying to acquire with another company, World River, and although Rod appears to insult Summerhayes at first by insinuating he’s a flashy rich guy, he is taken by Rod’s insight and advice on what would make the merger successful. Rod even talks to Wes’s boyfriend Keith (Daniel Monks), who believes that Ricky and Wes had a fling, but he confides to Rod that he wants Wes to stop being a slacker and apply himself.

The guys run into a problem when Rod appears to recognize one of the guests, Carly’s ex Gary Polisner (Jackson Tozer), to which they fear that Polisner will blow their cover. Wes pulls out a ketamine pill so the guys can trick Polisner into playing a game where they pop it into his mouth mixed in with nuts, but Rabbi Greenberg (Jeff Ross) jumps in and ingests the pill himself. Not long after, Whitaker is set to be circumcised, and Greenberg starts to feel the ketamine effects taking over, leading him to half-circumcise the boy. Rod then steps in and uses Summerhayes’s cigar cutter to finish the job, earning him applause. After the party, the guys pay Rod and send him on his way, but he wants to keep being called Ricky. The trio then go to a bar and toast to Rod before finally deciding to put Ricky Stanicky to rest.

The next day, Dean and JT are horrified to find that Summerhayes liked Ricky so much that he decided to hire him as an employee. The two confront Rod and tell him to drop the act and get out of their lives, but he is committed to the role. Erin later shows up to tell Dean that she scored a “Hero of the Week” segment on a major network, and she submitted Ricky’s story of doing charity work since Dean told her that Ricky was going to Nairobi for an Ebola outbreak.

The guys end up going bowling with Erin, Susan, and Carly, with Rod attempting to start something with Carly. He comments on her hair, which is incredibly long and often commented on, but Rod tells her it’s beautiful. Carly’s hair then gets caught in the bowling ball return system until Rod pulls the back hatch off and shuts it down before helping Carly out.

Dean and JT resolve to get Rod fired by making him look bad in front of Summerhayes before they set a big presentation with the company’s board of directors. Rod’s suggestion to make their company more charitable initially sounds like a bad idea, but Summerhayes backs Rod as he continues his pitch. Later, Rod shows the guys a video of Summerhayes giving a speech, with his hand motions making him look like an “air dicker” (like he’s “smoking invisible dongs”), to which Summerhayes agrees with horror. This causes him to have Ricky be in charge of the merger, replacing Dean.

When Rod tries to record Dean for help on how to run the merger, Dean loses it and pushes Rod into a closet where they briefly scuffle before Dean snaps and tells Rod to drop the Ricky act. Rod produces a new ID where he has legally changed his name to “Richard Barbara Stanicky”. They fight again until Dean cools down and admits that this lie has gone too far and that he is in danger of ruining Erin’s career and their relationship. Rod also says that he actually has a life now as Ricky, and he worries about losing it. Dean later hangs out with Wes at a bar, where it is stated that Dean started lying as a kid to get over the abuse endured from his dad.

The following morning, Dean talks to Erin to come clean about Ricky. She says she knew all along because Nairobi has not had Ebola for a long time, so she lied to Dean about the “Hero of the Week” segment. Erin says that what bothered her more than the lies is that Dean and his friends were using the lies to do things that he could have done with her, like going to Dollywood. Dead decides to leave her alone.

Everyone gathers at a party between Summerhayes and World River, where they are set to watch the “Hero of the Week” segment. Realizing they are all screwed, Dean chooses to announce to everyone that Ricky Stanicky never existed, taking full responsibility for the lie. As he leaves, getting ready to be fired, the projector turns on and reveals that a camera crew came in to interview Rod and learn the full story. While his ruse as Ricky Stanicky was revealed to be fraudulent, Rod’s story of turning his life around under his new identity and working for Summerhayes has become seen as an uplifting story of second chances. Rod credits Dean, JT, and Wes for helping change his life.

The World River executives then excitedly approach Dean and Summerhayes with the prospect of sealing their deal, to which the two happily accept. Dean then talks to Erin, who decided to run the “Hero of the Week” story on Rod anyway. Dean apologizes for his lies, and while she says it will take a while for her to forgive him, she plays a recording that Rod sent her of Dean saying that Erin is the best thing in his life and he was scared of losing her. Moments later, the thugs show up to confront Rod, but they turn out to be process servers who issue Rod a cease-and-desist from Billy Idol for using his songs with jerk-off lyrics. Rod is just excited to know that Billy Idol has seen his act.

An afterparty is held, where Rod tells the guys he is now dating Carly and might get engaged to her. The guys then give one final toast to Ricky Stanicky, declaring him to be the best friend they ever had.

The credits feature scenes of the friends and their wives/girlfriends cleaning up a lake, Carly cutting and donating her her to sick kids, JT camping outside as punishment from Susan for his lies, Wes writing a successful book with Keith now proud of him, and everyone going to Dollywood for Dean and Erin’s wedding. The credits end with a TikTok remix of Summerhayes’ “air dicking”.

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For 25 years, best friends Dean, JT, and Wes have gotten away with various schemes and shenanigans by using a made-up friend named Ricky Stanicky as a scapegoat. After a night in Atlantic City, the guys have to rush home when JT's wife Susan gives birth early, leading to her, plus Dean's girlfriend Erin and Susan's mother Leona to question whether or not Ricky Stanicky actually exists, since the guys used him as an excuse to go to AC in the first place.

The guys hire Rod Rimestead, a struggling alcoholic actor who works making porn parodies of popular rock songs that they met in Atlantic City, to pose as Ricky Stanicky. They introduce "Ricky" to everyone, including Dean and JT's boss, Ted Summerhayes, and Rod impresses everyone with his charm, wit, and knowledge in business. However, even after the guys pay Rod for his services, he remains committed to the Stanicky persona and even gets hired by Summerhayes. Dean and JT try to get him fired, but only manage to get Rod promoted.

Dean learns from Erin, who is a journalist, that she submitted "Ricky's" story for a "Hero of the Week" segment on a major network since Dean said that Ricky did charity work in Africa. Rod refuses to drop the act, as he feels that becoming Ricky Stanicky (even legally changing his name to that) has given him a second chance at a new life. Dean is forced to come clean to Erin, but she admits she already knew since she caught one of Dean's lies earlier, and she was also lying about the segment.

At a party for a merger between Summerhayes and another company, World River, Dean takes responsibility for the lie to save JT and Wes the trouble. Before Summerhayes can fire him, the "Hero of the Week" segment plays anyway, as a camera crew interviewed Rod and viewed his story of getting a second chance in life thanks to Dean, JT, and Wes as something worthy of a heroic story. The merger goes through, and Dean gets to keep his job and salvage his relationship with Erin after Rod sent her a recording of him saying how much she means to him.

Rod (or Ricky) remains in the guys' lives as their new friend, while he begins to date Erin's cousin Carly and joins her in doing actual charity and community services.