The Shrimp on the Barbie is a romantic comedy starring Cheech Marin and Emma Samms. Marin plays Carlos, an American tourist on a string of bad luck who is working at a Mexican restaurant in Australia. He meets Alex, a snobbish heiress played by Emma Samms, and she hires him to pose as her boyfriend. Alex's father doesn't approve of her current fiance Bruce, played by Vernon Wells, so Alex needs Carlos to act as his replacement and to be as rude and offensive as possible. She thinks her father will appreciate her fiance more by comparison and approve of her marrying him.
The plan goes awry when her father overhears of this plan. He turns the tables on Alex by enthusiastically approving of Carlos and everything Carlos does, even as Carlos does his best to offend him. Bruce gets increasingly frustrated as well, and he comes into conflict with Carlos as the story progresses. While Carlos and Alex are initially polar opposites, they develop a mutual attraction as they get to know each other better and he tries to help her.
Bruce sleeps with a friend of Alex's and then tries to bribe Carlos once he realizes that Carlos knows about it. He attacks Carlos when the bribe fails, but someone takes pictures of the assault. Pictures of both Bruce's affair and his beating of Carlos end up with Alex's father, and Alex uses them to publicly shame him. Carlos heads back to the United States, but Alex's father pulls some strings to get his flight recalled so Alex can reconcile with him. Carlos stays in Australia with Alex and goes back to work at the Mexican restaurant, which now enjoys a lot of success thanks to a recommendation from a food critic Carlos had bonded with earlier in the film.
The Shrimp on the Barbie is directed by Michael Gottlieb, and it also features performances from Bruce Spence, Carol Davis and Terence Cooper.