Around the turn of the century, in England, alcoholic Uncle Willie is the bane of his family, of which his brother-in-law (Cecil Parker) is the family spokesman. It is decided to let Uncle Willie buy a bicycle shop in order to impress Virginia van Stuyden, an American heiress in love with Frank. This pleases Uncle Willie's young nephew, Charles, (who also serves as a commentator throughout the film.) Complications arise when stuffy lord, Sir George Probus, at whose home Virginia is staying, becomes stuffy-Brit shocked when she attends a carnival. Virginia is also irked because Frank isn't more manly. They nearly all turn up at a convalescent home, where Uncle Willie brings the young lovers together, and announces that milk will be his only beverage-of-choice in the future.