Your weekly streaming pick has arrived! Dolemite Is My Name is a Netflix original. Even more exciting, Dolemite Is My Name is a return to form for the legendary Eddie Murphy.
Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) is a man desperate to work in show business. He sings, raps, dances, and does comedy. Nothing has gone his way. He works at a record store/radio station that won’t play his songs. He’s the MC at a club that doesn’t want him telling jokes between the main acts. He gets no respect from anyone. Moore hears tall tales and rhyming jokes from a group of homeless old timers that hang out in his neighborhood.
Moore isn’t without talent. He takes this old material and updates it. Gives it his own spin. And builds a character to attach to it all. Enter Dolemite.
The big draw to this project was Eddie Murphy. Murphy returns to form in this comedy. Is enthusiasm and natural skills in comedy infuse the character of Moore with life. Murphy has so much charisma to spare you forget you’re watching him and just watch this version of Moore take new life. There isn’t a flaw in Murphy’s performance. He hits the highs and lows as needed and always gives more without ever chewing the scenery.
Dolemite Is My Name is a Netflix Original
Murphy is a megastar and belongs in great movies like this. Acting alongside him must be a massive challenge. Luckily, the supporting cast around him rise to this challenge. Keegan-Michael Key plays the artistic writer of the movie inside the movie. His vision is stepped on every step of the way and he learns to love it.
Another great actor we haven’t seen in a while is Wesley Snipes. Snipes is the actor turned (bribed) into being director, D’Urville. D’Urville never has a good attitude about the project, too bad we didn’t get to see him eat his words. Snipes performance is incredible. Although his character is ridiculous he often gets the role of the straight man and is so dryly funny.
A special mention must be made for Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Lady Reed. Her character goes through the biggest transformation in the movie. Randolph doesn’t appear in every scene like Murphy and doesn’t even enter the story until we are well on our way. She is a scene stealer and tremendous performer.
The rest of the cast is exceptional as well, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Snoop Dogg… the list is incredible.
Dolemite Is My Name was a well crafted comedy built on Murphy’s shoulders. It is a solid story in its own right. With a lesser actor the movie may have been very forgettable. The story of Rudy Ray Moore is fun from beginning to end. It’s clear narratively that Moore faced a lot of struggles. These are glazed over a bit for the sake of keeping the movie light hearted. While focusing on the failures may have made for a more honest biopic, this isn’t that. Dolemite Is My Name is a celebration of Moore’s success in his iconic Blacksploitation character. There wasn’t time, or need, to focus on the negative.
A lot of credit is owed in recreating the era as well. The cars, wardrobe, and settings are spot on. Director Craig Brewer doesn’t shy away from showing the wider world. The small details add up to a much larger, more complete, picture.
If you haven’t yet, check out My Name Is Dolemite. Be sure to listen to this week’s podcast to hear the So Wizard crew talk about the movie. Also stay tuned. We have an exclusive interview with Kazy Tauginas who plays Saul Bihari coming very soon!!