NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Alex

In the 1970s, Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) is a struggling comedian and singer who works at a record store and can’t seem to catch a break. When he hears a homeless man trading stories of “Dolemite”, a black folklore character, he decides to practice and perform as the character. When he performs as Dolemite, the audience loves it. He decides to record a comedy album on his own dime, with the help of his friends Jimmy (Mike Epps), Ben (Craig Robinson) and Toney (Tituss Burgess) – when he’s told it’s too filthy to publish, he self-publishes the album, and it’s a huge hit in the black community in Los Angeles. He is approached by record company owners the Bihari brothers, who prints a real album, which he begins touring with all over the country.

At one of his tour stops in Tallahassee, he sees a man hitting a woman, and her hitting him back. After the show he spots her at the bar and buys her a drink. Her name is Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), and she’s just learned her man was cheating. She and Rudy bond, and she admits she likes to sing and always wanted to perform but has stage fright. They create a character of “Queen Bee”, who begins performing alongside Dolemite very successfully.

Rudy album enters the Billboard charts, and so he records another album. On Christmas, he takes his friends to see the movie “Front Page”, which he’s read good reviews of. The guys are stunned that they don’t find the movie funny or exciting in any way, and the white audience is laughing hysterically. Rudy decides he should make a movie that black audiences would actually like. He pitches to Walter Crane (Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris) at the black movie studio, but Walter finds Dolemite too niche for his studio. Rudy decides to produce the movie himself, taking money from the record company and sales. He asks Toney to handle the money, Jimmy to do take care of the costumes and props, and Ben to do the music. Rudy goes to see a play he enjoys, and finds the writer Jerry Jones (Keegan-Michael Key), who is a serious dramatist and wants his work to be culturally important and doesn’t quite get the Dolemite thing. Jerry is reticent to write the Dolemite movie, but Rudy convinces him this will be an opportunity to be in movie theaters.

While at a strip club looking for actresses, Rudy sees D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), a known actor. He has no interest in being in such a slapdash project until Rudy offers him the director position. The Bihari brothers warn Rudy if they front him the money and the movie fails, they’ll make all the money off his album royalties, but Rudy believes in the project. Rudy hires a group of USC film students led by Nick (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to be the crew, and they know more about film-making than Rudy’s crew. The decrepit building Rudy gets to shoot in has no working electricity and the floors are falling apart, so the crew steals the electric from next door. When it’s time to film the kung fu scenes, Rudy is not as good at making it look good as he claimed he would be, but D’Urville does his best.

When the sex scene approaches, Rudy is nervous since he’s out of shape, but Lady Reed tells him that instead of making the scene sexy he can make it funny, so the crew makes the scene happen where the room literally collapses as they have sex, cracking everyone up. Meanwhile, the film has run out of money very close to the end of shooting, so Rudy has to beg the Bihari brothers for even more money. D’Urville tells Rudy to use the fight he has for the movie in his acting. Finally, the film finishes shooting, and D’Urville leaves the set in a rush, but the crew encourages Rudy to celebrate the moment more, which they do.

When the film is finished, Rudy can’t find any distributor for it. Rudy is devastated, back at the grind trying to make a buck since the Bihari brothers get all his royalties. At a radio appearance in Indianapolis, DJ Bobby Vale (Chris Rock) gives Rudy his cousin’s information – he owns a theater. He has to pay to put the movie in theaters, but will make all the ticket sales, so he hustles promoting the movie all over town. The movie plays like gangbusters; the audience laughs hysterically. Lawrence Woolner (Bob Oedenkirk) from Dimension Pictures sees the insane returns on the Dolemite and offers to buy the film. He brings the whole crew to the business meeting, where they strike the deal to release Dolemite nationwide.

Rudy pays the Bihari brothers back their investment. On the way to the premiere, the group reads the terrible reviews, but Rudy stands by the movie. When they arrive, the line for the premiere is around the block, the theater saying they’re going to have to add a 2:00 AM showing just so everyone can get in. A young boy in the front of the line tells Rudy he is his biggest fan, and when he doesn’t get in, Rudy goes out to entertain him and the crowd. Lady Reed comes to get him so he doesn’t miss the movie, and Rudy says he’s seen it, and stays outside to entertain the crowd of people waiting to get in to the next showing.

Post-script explains the Dolemite made over 10 million dollars, and Rudy and his company made seven more movies.

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Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) is a struggling comedian and singer who hears stories about a black folklore character named "Dolemite". He decides to perform as Dolemite, and becomes a big hit, touring and making comedy albums. He decides to make a movie starring Dolemite, borrowing money from his record company, and putting on a haphazard production since he has no experience. Unable to find anyone to distribute it, he falls into debt and is worse off than when he started. He pays a local theater on one of his tour stops to show the movie, and it sells out and is a huge hit. Dimension Pictures sees the returns and offers to distribute the movie, where it makes 10 million dollars.