Ruth starts up a successful women’s employment agency and succeeds in getting revenge on Bob by causing a series of events that get him sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzling from his clients. Mary whom Ruth had also successfully gotten revenge on dumps him beforehand, due to her finding out that he had been unfaithful to her and that she was among the embezzled.
Mary sells her mansion and quits writing romance novels, and writes a book about her experiences with Bob that becomes a best seller. Bob undergoes a positive change in attitude during his incarceration and looks forward to spending time with his family again. Ruth goes to a book signing of Mary’s to get a personally autographed copy of it from her, and tells her to make it out to “Ruth.” Mary experiences a bit of déjà vu over this (they had met face to face before she first started sleeping with Bob), but she shrugs it off. A handsome Frenchman then comes up to Mary’s table, and she starts flirting with him, showing that she is reverting back to her old ways.
After Bob (Ed Begley, Jr.) leaves her for Mary (Meryl Streep), Ruth (Roseanne Barr) devises a plan to get revenge on him (and Mary as well) by taking away what he considers his four basic assets: His home, his family, his career, and his freedom.
- HOME: While Bob is away with Mary and the kids Nicolette (Elisebeth Peters) and Andy (Bryan Larkin) are at school, Ruth blows up the house through a combination of methods, but not before taking Bob’s file on Mary’s finances. She then drops the kids off at Mary’s mansion so Bob and Mary will have to take care of them. Mary’s serene life is immediately thrown into chaos, for she has a hard time trying to keep the kids under control due to Bob being unwilling to enforce discipline with them.
- FAMILY: After reading Mary’s file and finding out that she pays for her mother, Mrs. Fisher (Sylvia Miles), to live in an expensive nursing home, Ruth gets a job as a nurse there under a false name. She befriends Mrs. Fisher, as well as the head nurse Hooper (Linda Hunt). She eventually manages to get Mrs. Fisher kicked out of the home (and gets herself deliberately fired in the process), and she moves in with Mary and makes her life even more tumultuous. Hooper quits her job later on and accompanies Ruth as she leaves for New York City.
- CAREER: Ruth and Hooper start up an employment agency for women in the city, which helps downtrodden women find work or get a better job, but unbeknownst to the women they also serve a second purpose of being Ruth’s personal army of agents that she can use in her quest for revenge. She manages to get an attractive bookkeeper, Olivia (Maria Pitillo), hired by Bob as his new bookkeeper at his office, knowing that he won’t be able to resist having a sexual tryst with her. Sure enough, he starts cheating on Mary with her. Mary’s life continues to crumble with him always “working late nights”, in addition to her mother revealing some embarrassing secrets about her to People Magazine and the overwhelmingly poor reception of her newest novel. Ruth encourages Olivia to profess her love to Bob, and she does so during one of their trysts, and he responds by firing her. She later tearfully tells Ruth about that, and also about how he embezzles from his clients by skimming the interest off of their accounts and then wiring it to a Swiss bank account. Sensing a big opportunity to ruin Bob, Ruth has Olivia break them into Bob’s workplace after hours and wire larger sums of money to that account to make his embezzling more obvious. Ruth also finds photocopied pictures of Bob’s hands on Olivia’s body parts (identified as his by his “RP” ring on one pinky that Mary has given him) and mails them to Mary to expose Bob as a philanderer. This, combined with her maid Ute (Susan Willis) quitting, drives Mary to her breaking point, and she takes back control of her house and lays down the law with Bob, his kids, and her mother, and fires her layabout butler Garcia (A. Martinez).
- FREEDOM: Ruth calls the IRS to report Bob’s crimes to them. Agents show up at a party Mary is holding for herself at her mansion and they arrest Bob and take him away. Bob and Mary later meet with his lawyer Larry (Jack Gilpin), who tells Bob that he can get him off the hook because a corrupt judge he knows has been assigned to his case and the embezzled money will just be written off as a software glitch. However, he carelessly reveals Bob’s Swiss account in front of Mary, as well as the fact that Bob embezzled from her. Once they leave his office, Mary expels Bob from her life entirely. Somehow, Ruth finds out about the judge for Bob’s case, so she calls one of her clients working in the courthouse and has her switch the judge for another one. This new judge slaps Bob with a $250,000 fine and an 18-month prison sentence. As he is being escorted out of the courtroom, Ruth is shown to be among the spectators, having come to witness the fulfillment of her revenge plot.
A couple of months before Bob’s release, Ruth stops by the prison with Nicolette and Andy, and he shows that his attitude has greatly improved and he is looking forward to spending time with his family. By this point, Mary has sold her mansion and quit writing romance novels, and has just published a novel about her experiences with Bob which has become a major success. Ruth shows up at one of her book signings to get an autographed copy from her, and tells her to make it out to “Ruth.” Mary gets a strange feeling of déjà vu over this (she and Ruth had met face to face before she first started sleeping with Bob), but she quickly shrugs it off. After Ruth goes, a handsome Frenchman comes up to Mary’s table, and she starts flirting with him, showing that she is reverting back to her old ways. Ruth is last shown walking down a busy street and smiling as her agency clients slowly flank her.