Time: 117 minutes
Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore
Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Lady Reed
Keegan-Michael Key as Jerry Jones
Mike Epps as Jimmy Lynch
Craig Robinson as Ben Taylor
Tituss Burgess as Theodore Toney
Wesley Snipes as D’Urville Martin
Director: Lulu Wang
Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.
I heard a lot about Dolemite is My Name more recently, with it receiving a lot of praise, especially for Eddie Murphy in the lead role. However I hadn’t heard much about what the movie was about, and I hadn’t even heard of Dolemite or Rudy Ray Moore beforehand, so I really didn’t know what I was getting into. Even going in completely blind, I was thoroughly impressive with Dolemite is My Name.
One of the biggest strengths of Dolemite is My Name was the writing. The script is fantastically written, with some great and witty dialogue and some genuine heart throughout. The first half is pretty good, it’s fun and it establishes Rudy Ray Moore and his rise in popularity and success with his character of Dolemite, and seeing people rise up is generally a nice thing to see in movie. However it is when the plot gets to him and others making the Dolemite movie where it really picks up. Any movie about people making a film is always going to be fun to me, but it also does it well here. Many of the people working on the Dolemite movie clearly didn’t know how to make a movie but they had a lot of fun doing it, and that was nice to see. Dolemite is My Name has been compared to Ed Wood and The Disaster Artist, but while those movies were about films that entertained people in the wrong way, Dolemite is My Name is about a movie that became a success and was celebrated by people who genuinely love it for what it is. Not to mention that throughout the movie, you can clearly feel the love for Moore and his work, so you can really tell that there was a strong desire to tell his story in a respectful and truthful way, and it comes across constantly. The only fault that I could really find with the movie isn’t really a problem as much as it was a missed opportunity. I do wish there was a little more depth when it came to Rudy, maybe explore who he is as a person more. Now that’s not to say that I want a full on dramedy or drama, after all I thoroughly enjoy it as a comedy, there’s nothing in the movie I’d remove. But at least a couple more scenes somewhat exploring Rudy as a person would’ve made this movie even better, it’s honestly the only thing that’s missing.
Now keep in mind I haven’t seen Eddie Murphy in a ton of movies, but many have said that his acting as Rudy Ray Moore is a career best performance from him. Watching the movie, I’d be really surprised if this wasn’t the case. Murphy absolutely owns this role, you might not know who Rudy Ray Moore is beforehand, but he seems to have embodied him perfectly. It’s Murphy’s show, but at the same time the movie also has a great and likable supporting cast, with Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson all providing some really good work, and adding quite a bit to the movie. A stand out among the supporting cast was also Wesley Snipes, and this is the best I’ve seen him in a while. There’s even some surprise appearances from the likes of Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock and more, which was nice to see.
I haven’t seen anything that Craig Brewer has directed till now, but he did a good job with this movie. They seemed to have captured the time period and setting quite well, the costumes were also a standout, especially the outfits that Rudy Ray Moore would often wear as Dolemite.
Dolemite is My Name was one of the most surprising and entertaining movies of the year. It’s very well written, consistently entertaining, hilarious, and the cast is great, especially a fantastic Eddie Murphy. It’s definitely worth watching, even if you have no idea what it’s about, you’re more than likely going to have a great time with it. So check it out on Netflix when you get the chance.