Shy teen David Rice (Max Theriot
) has a crush on pretty Millie (AnnaSophia Robb
), who dreams of travelling the world. When he surprises her with a small gift, a snow globe of the Eiffel Tower, teasing bully Mark (Jesse James
) grabs it and throws it out onto the icy surface of the river. Determined, David ventures out on the ice and retrieves it, waving ... then falls through the ice and is swept away from the opening by the swift current. He is certain to die in the freezing water, without air ... and suddenly finds himself lying prone in the library between the bookcases, in a huge gush of gallons of water, gasping and alive.
He trudges home, soaking wet, where his father (Michael Rooker
) chews him out. David enters his room, putting a chain on the door ... but when his angry father bursts it open, there is only a swirl of wind - David has vanished. He finds himself in the damp aisle of the darkened library, and realises he has teleported there yet again. It dawns on him that he finally has a way to change his life, to escape his situation, the same way his mother abandoned the family when he was five. He teleports home and retrieves a small stash of money and a few belongings. But before he leaves town, he stops outside Millie's house. Millie is not consoled by her mother's arms; she is sure that David is dead. She hears a noise outside, steps cautiously out into the yard ... and finds the snowglobe sitting on the swingset. From this she knows he is alive, but he does not respond to her calls.
The next day he is on a bus to the city, where he rents a cheap room. He practices teleporting in the park, learning how to control his power. Then he cases a bank, and robs it by teleporting directly in to the vault in the middle of the night. He laughs as he realises his bag isn't big enough to take away all the money ... teleports back to his shabby hotel for another bag ... and repeats this until his room is awash in money and he lies on a bed of it. However, the mysterious Roland (Samuel L. Jackson
) appears at the bank investigation, claiming to be from the NSA, remarkably unsurprised by this locked door robbery. It is evident that he knows about teleport abilities, and is part of a powerful group that wants to find this bank robber.
Years have gone by, and David (Hayden Christenson
) has an expensive city apartment, papered with pictures of his world travels, and a small vault room full of money. He enjoys the pleasures of life wherever they are: surfing in Fiji, lunching atop the Sphinx in Egypt, picking up a girl in a British pub. He phases from one spot to another in his home, rather than walking even two paces, and disregards the troubles of ordinary people shown on television trapped in rising floodwaters.
His peace is disturbed by the arrival of Roland, whose electrical weapon and wires prevent David from teleporting. We learn that Roland's mission in life is to destroy jumpers (people who teleport), for "only God should have the power to be everywhere." Desperate, David manages somehow to get away, teleporting back to his boyhood bedroom. His father is alerted to his presence, and comes to the bedroom door, begging him to stay. David teleports away as his father forces the door open.
His idyllic lifestyle disrupted, he decides to see his lost love, Millie (Rachel Bilson
). He finds her still in the same town, working at a bar. His old nemesis Mark (Teddy Dunn
) manages to start a fight once again ... and in a rush David teleports with him into a bank vault, then leaves him there.
Returning to the bar, he asks Millie to go with him to Rome. She is shocked, but as it's her lifelong dream she can only accept. When they get to Rome, he enjoys her delight as he shows her around the ancient city, but is balked when they find the Coliseum closed. Rather than take "no" for an answer and return another day, he goes around the corner ... and when she catches up, he is holding a gate open to admit her. He continues to open doors from the inside as they pursue their private tour ... until they try to go down to the floor of the stadium. Suddenly he is surprised to meet another jumper, Griffin (Jamie Bell
), who informs him that he's not the only one and that there is a whole group of people like Roland, paladins, who want to kill jumpers ... and two of them suddenly turn up. Griffin is prepared to fight their methods, and eventually subdues the attackers and teleports away. David follows Griffin's teleport to his lair, asking questions. He is bewildered, and Griffin's brief explanations (such as explaining he will drop a paladin into some sharks) do nothing to enlighten him. Griffin explains that David cannot afford to have a girlfriend, family, or friends ... that they are all dead, that the paladins will kill them to get to him.
David returns to Millie and agrees to leave, and they get away from officials inside the Coliseum - only to be detained outside. David doesn't jump - he tells Millie to go back to the hotel, but she refuses. Hours later, David is still being questioned by the police, who are holding him and his passport until some other authorities arrive. Suddenly, a woman (Diane Lane
) appears, telling him to get out and abandon his girl, telling him how many minutes he has to escape. He recognises her from his childhood pictures - she is his mother!! He finds Millie and takes her to the airport, then explains sorrowfully that he cannot go back home with her.
In the meantime, Roland has been brought in to talk to Mark, whom David left in a bank vault. Mark, exhausted from repeatedly telling his story to disbelieving officials, explains who David is, where they are from, everything he knows. Seizing this opportunity, Roland visits David's father.
David returns to ask Griffin more questions, and this time the risk to his family sinks in. He teleports to his childhood home, and finds his father on the floor. Crying, he teleports his father to a hospital emergency room, trying to get help for him. He teleports to see Mark in jail, asking what he told Roland. Mark says he told him everything.
David realises that Millie will be in danger as soon as she gets off the plane in the USA, but when he asks Griffin for help, Griffin refuses. David follows Griffin through jumps, trying to convince him. Griffin swipes a car and they ride together, Griffin teleporting the car through traffic as it suits him. They exchange some bits of information: the paladins killed Griffin's parents when he was five, and David's mother left when he was five. David asks about teleporting the car, and Griffin laughingly tells of a jumper who tried to teleport a building - he died in the attempt. Finally, Griffin agrees to help David for a "limited engagement" - the many drawings of Roland in Griffin's home make it clear that he has a grudge against this paladin.
The arrive in the USA - and Millie's flight already arrived an hour before. He teleports to her apartment, hoping to get her out quickly - but Roland and his attack squad arrive before he can begin to explain. He manages to teleport her to Griffin's lair - and Griffin chews him out for it, because Roland can directly follow his teleport! Griffin prepares to abandon his home, but when Roland appears an epic battle begins. At one point Griffin teleports a bus at Roland, who manages to dive underneath it as it bounces. David is trapped, webbed up in a corner of the room by Roland's electrical wiring to be disposed of later. As Millie frees David, her anger at the situation and fear of his strange power are evident. She demands that he just take her home, and leave her alone. Naturally, she is soon captured and held hostage.
Griffin plans to take a bomb to Millie's apartment to kill Roland ... however, this will involve killing everyone else there, including Millie. David doesn't want that, so they two of them teleport around the world, fighting over the bomb, then over the detonator, falling from the Empire State Building and appearing in a war zone, where David finally traps Griffin in some fallen power lines as effective as Roland's traps.
David returns to Millie's apartment, knowing he's walking into the lion's den. They use electric wires all around him to tie him down, anchoring them to the walls. David has Millie move close to him, and, remembering Griffin's story, David doesn't try to move the whole building - just the parts attached to the anchor wires. As he uses his power, the building begins to rip apart, and the roof shatters as the apartment disappears out from under it.
David teleports Roland to a cave and leaves him there, saying he should be grateful he didn't drop him at the sharks. David vanishes, and Roland walks to the cave opening - finding himself up an isolated cliff in the Grand Canyon.
It is winter, and we see David walk up to an expensive home and knock. A teenage girl answers the door, followed moments later by David's mom, who sends her daughter to her room. David is there to find out what it all means, and why she left him as a child. She explains that she is a paladin, and when he made his first teleport at age 5 she could not kill him, so she left him because she loved him. He thinks she should do more - and she explains that she is, right now, because she's giving him a head start. He realises he will not get more from her.
He leaves the house, and Millie meets him outside. He asks where she wants to go, and she says, "Surprise Me." They teleport away.