Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

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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.

Eddie Murphy is back!

I grew up at a time when Eddie Murphy was huge.  Like HUGE!  Raw and Delirious was quoted everywhere, the Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hours franchises were massive, The Golden Child, Trading Places, and don’t even get me started on Coming To America.  All of them, classics.

Then something happened.  Murphy started doing kids movies like Dr Dolittle and Shrek, and dumb comedies like The Nutty Professor.  Should I even mention Norbit or Pluto Nash?  He had lost his edge for me, and I stopped watching.

Dolemite is My Name sees a good deal of that edge return, with Murphy staring as 70’s icon Rudy Ray Moore.  It’s definitely the most adult oriented film he’s made in a long while, and while there are plenty of laughs to be had, this is not strictly a comedy – it’s a biopic, and a pretty good one at that.

The cast is great too.  Aside from Murphy, there is an excellent supporting cast including Wesley Snipes, Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, Keegan-Michael Key and a cameo by Chris Rock.

Honestly, I knew nothing of Rudy Ray Moore until this film, but director, Craig Brewer, and writers, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski

have done a fine job in bringing his story to the screen for this Netflix feature.  The dialogue is well written, and the entire package captures the look and vibe of the 70’s very well.

The fact that Murphy is portraying one of his earliest influences translates to the screen as well.  He seems to be enjoying getting lost in the performance, and that makes it easy for viewers to connect with too.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dolemite is My Name – it was two hours well spent.

8/10

Rick Trewin.

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