Ivan (Fedor Dunaevsky) is a teenager who is suffering through the acrimonious divorce of his parents. His sympathies are all with his father, who has taken up with a younger woman, and he has nothing but scorn for his mother, who won custody of him. He tries to set his mother's apartment on fire, but fortunately enough, he fails.
He also fails at getting accepted into the university in a subject chosen by his mother. Ivan is not a deep thinker and basically only wants an easy existence with enough money to enjoy some of the good things of life. Since he has graduated from high school, he has to do something, so his mother sets him up with a job as a messenger.
While on his first assignment (which he messes up), he makes friends with professor's daughter Katya (Anastasiya Nemolyayeva, the daughter of the film's cinematographer Nikolai Nemolyaev), a member of Moscow's social elite.
He sets his heart on winning her, even though he is a homely and uneducated housing-project bumpkin with nothing to recommend him except his persistence, engagingly bad manners and a certain originality.
Despite being thrown out of the girl's apartment many times by her father (Oleg Basilashvili), he keeps coming back and eventually wins the older man's grudging respect.
Kuryer first became popular as a story published in the mid-1980s. The story was humorous and addressed the real-life situations and problems that young people would face, as opposed to ideologically heavy, Party-sponsored books that dominated the market at that time. That's what made Kuryer so appealing and fresh.
As it often happens, when Karen Shakhnazarov adapted his own story for the screen, some of the magic was lost in the transition.
However, the film was a popular success and also received a Special Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1987, along with the Jury Prize at the Tbilisi Film Festival, a State Prize of the Russian Federation, and, finally, was voted the Best Film of the Year by the readers of the film magazine Sovetsky Ekran.