Eddie Murphy is back with a vengeance.
Murphy returns in the Netflix biopic focusing on the life of Rudy Ray Moore, a comedian and Blaxploitation film star of the 1970s.
Rudy Ray Moore was a struggling comedian, rejected on a regular basis, until he created a character to play on stage, a foul mouthed, obscene pimp who rhymed his way through his act named Dolemite. Moore was told repeatedly that he was never going to be successful, but he refused to give up. He parlayed the character into several bootleg record albums and eventually a feature film.
There is a great cast of actors involved in Dolemite is my Name, which is lead, of course, by Eddie Murphy. This is easily Murphy’s best performance in years. He looks to be having a ton of fun as Moore. The film also includes Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Mike Epps, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Kodi Smit-McPhee. There are some great cameos as well, including the scene-stealing Wesley Snipes as D’Urville Martin, the co-star and director of the first Dolemite movie.
The real Dolemite movie has become a classic of the Blaxploitation genre, one of those “it’s so bad it’s good” films. Watching the biopic, I must say that I got some flashes of The Disaster Artist, the film detailing the creation of one of the worst films ever, The Room. Both of these films showed us the charismatic lead actor that may not have much acting chops, but can still find ways to get things done.
Moore would become an idol and an inspiration for many modern day rappers, who looked at his rhymes as an early form of rap music. Moore would become known as the “Godfather of rap.”
There are some real feel good moments in this movie. I found the relationship between Rudy Ray Moore and Lady Reed aka “Queen B” to be extra special. Moore found Lady Reed in a night club one night, knocking out her boyfriend, and she became a muse for him. The bond they formed that night carried the pair through the years of challenges ahead. The fact that neither of them were the typical Hollywood shape sends a wonderful message to the fans who may not be as slim as they wish to be.
Dolemite is my Name is a great movie, funny, sweet and filled with tremendous performances. Sure there is a lot of swearing, but it is fully part of the time and of the real Moore. Eddie Murphy is magnificent here and I hope he continues this run.