Verdict: Eddie Murphy makes a comeback with his first biopic.
Stream it on Netflix.
Dolemite Is My Name premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and has received plenty of praise since then. The biopic that features Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore as he becomes Dolemite and how he manages to make the classic blaxploitation film, Dolemite.
What’s Dolemite Is My Name About:
Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) is a singer-dancer-comedian trying to make it in the show business, but his songs aren’t even being played by the DJ of the record store where he works. When a homeless man enters their store and entertains the people with some rhyming jokes, Rudy sees an opportunity. Plied with money and booze, he heads out to record the tales that the homeless men have to tell and reshapes them. He puts on the persona of Dolemite with a wig, brightly-colored suits, a hat, and a cane and soon becomes successful as a comedian. But his ambitions go further – Rudy sets his sights on bringing Dolemite to the big screen, no matter what happens.
Dolemite Is My Name has a fabulous cast that goes beyond Eddie Murphy, including cameos from Snoop Dogg and Chris Rock. There’s Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) playing Moore’s co-worker at the record store, Mike Epps (The Hangover) playing Moore’s friend, Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele) playing the practical screenwriter, Craig Robinson (The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) playing a musician, Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Empire) playing a fellow comedian-actress, Wesley Snipes (Blade) playing real-life D’Urville Martin, and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Alpha) as a filmmaking student who becomes the DP for Dolemite.
Besides the great performances, the story also takes you through some fabulous turns of events. Rudy Ray Moore was truly a self-made man. Even when he first achieves success as Dolemite, he has to get creative in order to sell the vinyl recordings of his performances. He has to repeat the hustle all over again when he attempts to make his dream movie which nobody else wants to bankroll. It’s a movie with nudity, unrealistic action scenes, and lots of swearing which has been cast in strip clubs and has college students behind the lens – and Dolemite bets all of his money on its success.
Even though it’s a biopic, comedy is also a big part of Dolemite Is My Name. Eddie Murphy is charismatic as Moore and his profanity-laced jokes make quite an impact. The humor also comes through the ridiculous situations and Moore and his crew finds themselves in, including the making of the whole film. There is depth to the film too – Rudy’s journey is inspiring and the film accurately reflects the black American culture of the 70s. It references the great blaxploitation hits of the time, the actors who were household names at the time, as well as comedy legends like Red Foxx.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The comedy of Dolemite Is My Name isn’t for all. It’s coarse and vulgar, much like Rudy Ray Moore. But for those who don’t mind the R-rated humor, there is a lot to appreciate. The second half is also much better than the first as it picks momentum when Moore starts making the Dolemite film.
Why You Should Watch:
You don’t need to be familiar with Rudy Ray Moore to enjoy his journey to stardom in Dolemite Is My Name, a biopic that’s both informative and entertaining. It’s a fun watch, less than two hours long, and you’ll have a great time watching it.