Adapted from a novel by Rian James, a gossip columnist helps the woman he loves get out of trouble only to find she married someone else.
Columnist Jimmy Russell (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) wakes up at 5 p.m. and bets Stanley Fiske (Lee Tracy) $50 he won't get in a cold bath. His editor tells Jimmy to expose racketeer Eddie Shaw; but he passes the story to Seeley (Terrance Ray). Jimmy meets Mary Wodehouse (Frances Dee) at Sardi's. Sally Condon (Ann Dvorak) admits to Stanley she is crazy about Jimmy. Eddie Shaw (Lyle Talbot) asks Jimmy about Seeley. At home Jimmy kisses Mary, who says she loves him; but she wrote bad checks. After they leave, a man comes out of the closet. Jimmy learns it was Bernie Olds (Warren Hymer), who comes in and tells Jimmy not to run the milk racket story about Eddie. Jimmy calls to kill the story in order to save Seeley.
Jimmy learns that some man is buying Mary's bad checks. Mary breaks her theater date with Jimmy to go to the opera with producer Max Boncour. Mary calls Jimmy about a telegram from Shaw about the checks. Jimmy goes to Atlantic City to see Shaw; but Olds holds him prisoner with a gun playing practical jokes on him. Mary gets a diamond bracelet from Shaw, who wants to see her by ten. Mary calls Stanley to advise her, and he tries to find Jimmy. Jimmy escapes from Olds. Mary cries, while her Aunt Hattie (Cecil Cunningham) criticizes both Shaw and Jimmy. Sally tells Jimmy that Shaw demands to see Mary by ten or else. Jimmy goes to Shaw's penthouse and sees Stanley in a dress hide a gun. Jimmy finds Shaw dead and takes Mary's checks out of his wallet. He puts Shaw's fingerprints on a bottle and glass. Stanley comes back in his own clothes and sees Jimmy throw Shaw off the roof. Jimmy calls to report that drunk Shaw fell off the roof.
Jimmy goes home, finds Sally, and writes his column. Stanley comes in, and they go out to cover the Shaw story. Police find the newspaper Jimmy left; but Stanley takes the paper before they see the number Jimmy had written on it. Stanley tells Jimmy he saw what he did and commends him. Jimmy gets a telegram from Mary that she married Boncour and got a part in his play. Jimmy calls in their story, and he writes to congratulate Hattie. Jimmy tells Stanley and Sally that love is a mental disorder, a racket. Jimmy tells Sally he won't ever fall in love again and smiles, calling her a racketeer.
Cynical Aunt Hattie told Mary that all men either want to take all they can get or don't have anything to give, and apparently Mary believed her, taking what she could get. Stanley and Jimmy committed murder for her and feel like getting drunk. Amidst this pessimism the hope of Sally shines brightly.