Sunday, December 15, 2019

Dolemite is My Name - Movie Review

The Movie: Dolemite Is My Name

The Director: Craig Brewer

The Cast: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Wesley Snipes, Craig Robinson, Titus Burgess, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Snoop Dogg, Ron Cephas Jones, T.I., Luenell, Tasha Smith, Chris Rock

The Story: 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.

The Review:
If there was ever a movie where the joy of making it comes across on screen, this would be it. The cast clearly had a blast putting this film together as they fill every scene with a sense of fun and an energy that keeps you engaged from beginning to end. If you'e never heard of Dolemite, this movie is the perfect introduction to one of the blaxploitation era's most iconic characters. Rudy Ray Moore, played by a resurgent and revitalized Eddie Murphy, creates the character as a way to save his floundering comedy career and ends up with a gold mine of profanity laced and adult themed material.

I will say this, Eddie Murphy really isn't doing anything more than being Eddie Murphy in this movie although that is more than enough as his charisma, charm, and humor are all on full display in a role that should put him back on the map as a bankable Hollywood star. Wesley Snipes is also on hand as actor/director D'Urville Martin with a scene stealing performance that is in a lot of ways, even better than Murphy himself. Also making appearances are Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, and Craig Robinson along with Da'Vine Joy Randolph as the incomparable Lady Reed.

Full disclosure, I have never watched a Dolemite movie before although now, after watching this movie, I am very motivated to correct this oversight as they look like some highly entertaining action comedies all made on a shoestring budget with no one really having any idea how to make a movie. Rudy Ray Moore broke a lot of ground for black culture and paved the way for black comedians like Eddie Murphy to have the level of success they have enjoyed and the movie does a great job of showing how his determination, passion, and belief in those around him made it all possible.

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