Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

dolemite is my name poster 2019 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good cast, interesting story

Could have done more with the setting and visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name: Dolemite Is My Name

Studio: Davis Entertainment

Genre(s): Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  September 7, 2019 (Toronto International Film Festival)/October 4, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

dolemite is my name rudy ray moore stand up eddie murphy

Everyone wants a piece of Dolemite!

When Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) finds himself striking out as a performer, he creates an alter ego and Dolemite is born!  With success as a comic actor, Rudy has big dreams of celebrity stardom and fame, and Dolemite could be his key.  Rudy plans for Dolemite circle around a movie, and the movie could make Rudy and his friends famous…or infamous.

Directed by Craig Brewer, Dolemite Is My Name is a biopic comedy drama.  The film adapts the life of Rudy Ray Moore and his making of the cult blaxploitation film Dolemite (1975).  The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was purchased by Netflix for distribution.  It received largely positive reviews from critics.  Though not nominated for any Academy Awards, Eddie Murphy was nominated for a Razzie Redeemer Award for his performance.

I knew of Dolemite, but I had never seen it.  With a lot of buzz surrounding My Name is Dolemite, I went into it interested and hopeful.  While a bit long, the film did entertain and was fun…the cast was so full, it was either going to fly or bust.

dolemite is my name dance motherfucker dance rudy ray moore eddie murphy

Dance motherf*#!er, Dance!

The story is primarily about the making of the film but a lot of Rudy Ray Moore’s life is revealed as a result.  The story is told with a lot of humor, but in a way that has you rooting for Rudy to succeed.  I knew that Dolemite was a known film and that there were sequels, but I wasn’t sure if Rudy was a victim of contracts like many performers from that period…so I was a bit blind to how the film would end which left some suspense.

The cast is great.  Headlined by Eddie Murphy (who really brings Rudy to life), he’s joined by Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, Tituss Burgess, Keegan-Michael Key, Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, Bob Odenkirk, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and more…the cast is so full that you wish some of them had more screentime.  I think also special notice should go to Wesley Snipes (who portrays D’Urville Martin) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph who is honest about what it is like to be on the plus-size in a world where everyone wants slim and trim.

dolemite is my name director wesley snipes kodi smit mcphee

Crap…this isn’t going to work

The movie looks ok.  Since it is a period piece, the styles and locations are key to putting you in the time of the film.  I feel like the movie could have done a bit more with this and stylized the film more (like something like Black Dynamite which parodies films like Dolemite).  Stylizing the whole film would have probably looked down on it, but I feel there was some room for more fun involving the period and the looks and the almost guerrilla style of filmmaking they were doing.

Dolemite Is My Name is definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of Murphy or if you just have Netflix and are looking for something new.  I was surprised to find an Indianapolis tie to the movie and to discover that Dolemite premiered and helped get wide distribution by being screen in a theater about two miles from my house (the Uptown has been gone since the late ’70s however).  As a fan of Murphy, I see a lot of similarities with Dolemite and Murphy’s earlier film Bowfinger (about making a fake low-budget film)…my love for Bowfinger would probably have me watching Bowfinger again, but Dolemite Is My Name definitely has legs.

Related Links:

Dolemite (1975)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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