We’ve been building up to this one and it’s finally here, Eddie Murphy is back in the new Netflix comedy Dolemite Is My Name. Complete with a pimped-out cast including a cameo from Snoop Dogg as well full cast appearances from Wesley Snipes, Mike Epps, Keegan-Michael Key, and Tituss Burgess. The movie release is based on the hustle in a time when black artists were on the up and up, with Murphy being right bang in his element in this one.
Cast – Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Titus Burgess, Da’Vine Joy Randolph & Wesley Snipes
Director – Craig Brewer
Genre – Drama/Comedy
Running Time – 1h 58m
The Stung by a string of showbiz failures, floundering comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Academy Award nominee Eddie Murphy) has an epiphany that turns him into a word-of-mouth sensation: step onstage as someone else. Borrowing from the street mythology of 1970s Los Angeles, Moore assumes the persona of Dolemite, a pimp with a cane and an arsenal of obscene fables. However, his ambitions exceed selling bootleg records deemed too racy for mainstream radio stations to play.
Moore convinces a social justice-minded dramatist (Keegan-Michael Key) to write his alter ego a film, incorporating kung fu, car chases, and Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), an ex-backup singer who becomes his unexpected comedic foil. Despite clashing with his pretentious director, D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), and countless production hurdles at their studio in the dilapidated Dunbar Hotel, Moore’s Dolemite becomes a runaway box office smash and a defining movie of the Blaxploitation era.
It’s interesting to note that the movie is dedicated to Murphy’s late older brother, Charlie. When Murphy was a teenager — already performing stand-up like his idol, Richard Pryor — Charlie came home raving about a movie where the namesake, rhyming pimp (Moore) exacts revenge on Willie Green (D’Urville Martin), the man who put him in prison and stole his nightclub. Watching the movie you can sense that Murphy put his all into the role. Rotten Tomatoes put it perfectly:
In dramatizing Rudy Ray Moore’s stranger-than-fiction story, Eddie Murphy makes Dolemite Is My Name just as bold, brash, and ultimately hard to resist as its subject.
Picking the right script from an actor’s point of view is one of the most crucial aspects in the industry with several accepted and turned down, each with their own results. It’s hard to determine which one will be a winner and which won’t, in Murphy’s case this one was clearly the right call, crucial especially since it’s his reintroduction back into the movie scene.
The movie does a great job of telling a true story in a funny way while also paying homage to a little known legend who played a vital role in street culture, comedy, entertainment as well as hip hop music. That’s the type of influence the late Rudy Ray Moore had, something we weren’t originally aware of. The man was a hustler and didn’t let up no matter what, he was a firm believer in what he could offer and was bold in his approach no matter what others thought. In the end he pushed through and through his efforts he managed to inspire and motivate.
Dolemite Is My Name is a ridiculous movie in parts but that forms part of its charm. A comedy that surprisingly also manages to inspire and tell a true story in an interesting and entertaining manner. Driven by a great cast led by the comeback kid Eddie Murphy, it makes for a very cool watch. Another lovely scoop by Netflix, be sure to catch this one when you have the time, it’s currently available to stream. Dolemite Is My Name is a 7 out of 10 kind of movie to us.