Freddie Ugo (Ron Liebman) is the owner of Rhinestone, a dance-song-pub, where Jake Farris (Dolly Parton), his star performer and love interest is stuck with him, after she signs a life long contract with the Sultan of Sleaze. He refuses to let her go, and insists that with his Midas touch, he can turn any one into a superstar - a country western singing sensation.
Ugo tells Jake that the only way she can buy herself out of the contract is if she finds a clown to turn into a ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ - he would give her two weeks, one number on stage, and voila - she gets to tear up her three year contract…if she loses, another five years and a sleazy proposition for something on the side with him.
She agrees, even though the stakes are high -‘no weirdoes, no lepers, no dead people, just some average normal person’ - and so the two go hunting and come across Nick Martinelli (Sylvester Stallone) a cabbie, who ‘passes in front of her face’ - she’d rather have had a leper!
When Ugo discusses the wager with Nick, he laughs, pointing at the singer on stage ‘I can’t stand that hill Billy’. Well, he walks out on the duo, leaving a beaming Ugo, though Jake reminds him she has two weeks. She goes and traces Nick down to the company that rents its cab to him. He is, as expected, fired by the owner. Now jobless, he takes up Jake’s offer, provided she gets Freddie to get the banged up taxi repaired, AND get his OWN taxi.
Ugo says they have a deal (cocksure that Jake will lose), because Nick thinks country music is ‘worse than liver’. Jake takes her job seriously; Nick is full of crock trying to flirt with her instead of concentrating on the singing. She takes him home to Leiper’s Fork, to her home in the country so that he can feel the life and the music.
Their relationship is frustrating as Nick insists he wants to do it his way, but eventually, he sings with the Wild Possum Band, singing ‘Drinkenstein’, in a yellow and orange suit with fur trimmed hat! At one point in time, he actually starts to believe he can sing - Jake tells him otherwise, and he shrugs her off, saying its ‘professional jealousy’. The two part ways.
Nick meets Noah Farris (Richard Farnsworth) who takes to Nick immediately, inviting him to sing with the Wild Possum Band - true bluegrass, he refuses, though. Jake is miserable, and says that she doesn’t want Nick to wind up with nothing, by instilling false hopes in him.
Nick is hell bent to make it in the music world, wanting to approach Freddie. Before he does so, Jake wants to call off the bet. Ugo is thrilled with the latest developments and welcomes the decision; elsewhere, Nick is riding a studded horse in Elvis style rhinestone jeweled suit, he rides into the hotel and knocks down the door to save Jake from Ugo’s clutches. They ride together to the Rhinestone, Nick believes he has to sing a duet with Jake, and is shocked to learn he is going solo - at the club, he is booed on stage. Suddenly he breaks into the best ditty ever, the crowd goes crazy cheering, and the bet is won!
The movie was wonderful for portraying the comic side of Stallone via this comic role; for once he flexed his vocals instead of his arms! Though the film won many nominations for the worst movie of the year - Stinkers Bad Movie Awards for Worst Picture - it does have a certain amount of following.