Dolemite Is My Name has a star studded cast, is true to the source material, hilarious, and well-told. The praise it has received is earned.
Since as far back as I can remember my dad has been calling random people Dolemite, or himself Dolemite, always in the voice of a character. He likely watched his films while I was around but I wasn’t really paying attention at the time. Regardless, the name has been in my life since the beginning so watching Dolemite Is My Name was important for me.
Eddie Murphy plays the titular character and, though he is clearly himself in some scenes, according to my mom he had the mannerisms down. The cast is rounded out by a long list of notable names including: Mike Epps, Titus Burgess, Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson, Snoop Dogg, Wesley Snipes, and Chris Rock. The cast comes together to tell the story of Rudy’s determination to make something of himself, no matter what it cost.
Dolemite Is My Name is a raw, dirty comedy with some nudity and plenty of foul language. If you are going to be bothered by this don’t watch. Otherwise Rudy’s transformation and journey are full of laughs, absurd moments, and some inspirational ones as well. Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Wesley Snipes are both great in supporting roles.
At points within the movie, if you are not familiar with Rudy Ray Moore, you are going to question just how absurd some of the situations are. This is especially true when it comes to making the movie. It’s amazing that he was able to get so many people on board with his film because no part of it should have made sense.
However, having watched the movie with my mom, I had someone there who could not help but yell out “That’s exactly how it was!” every 5 minutes. With regard to the fight scenes and his acting in particular. Now some of it, she said, actually looked better than the real movie but the idea remained the same.
At the end of the movie they do show footage from the real film so you get some confirmation that, yes, these movies were beyond bad technically but still managed to entertain because they were hilarious. Dolemite Is My Name does not have to embellish to enhance the character.
Many believe that Dolemite Is My Name may end up being an awards season contender. Eddie Murphy did his job in bringing Rudy back to life and supporting roles by Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Wesley Snipes could also be award contenders. I have seen some even mention the movie as a Best Picture contender, the reviews seem to agree.
Da’Vine plays comedian Lady Reed who Moore picked up to join him on tour while traveling across the country. She had never done comedy before but he saw something in her and brought her with him. The beauty of this relationship is that it never appears to have any inclination of being a romantic attraction and they have a few touching scenes. There is one near the end of the movie that would be on the Oscar reel I sent in for Da’Vine if I was in that room.
Wesley Snipes plays reluctant director D’Urville Martin and every scene that he’s in is gold. It’s been a long time since I’ve really seen Snipes and this role looked like it was a lot of fun to play. He takes himself seriously as an artist and appears to only accept the job to add a director credit to his name. Throughout the lead up to filming, and especially during, he allows things to happen but clearly isn’t happy with them. All with great comedic timing and in contrast with Rudy’s absurdity.
As for Eddie, I did think he was great physically in embodying Rudy Ray Moore. Even his facial expressions and cadence were altered to become the icon. However, there were a lot of instances of him sounding like himself. I’m not saying that should be a killer for his award success but it took a little off of it for me. Otherwise he really was great and deserves all of the praise he’s receiving.
Don’t sleep on a costume design nod for Ruth E. Carter as well, coming off of her Black Panther win.
I don’t feel the need to write an epic here. It’s a movie about the godfather of raunchy comedy. It’s hilarious, it’s dirty, and it touches on the industry in a smart way. Rudy struggles to get noticed and then develops a persona to do so. How he did it may be a little shady but we see this every day now on social media. It’s entertaining to watch how he did this in a time where it wasn’t as easy to get your content out into the world.
At the end of the day, Rudy Ray Moore was a man who was determined to be successful and took a lot of risks to accomplish his goals. It’s hard not to respect the lengths he went to. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie for the comedy and for the messages it sends.