Dolemite Is My Name is probably one of the few 2-hour movies, not made with a Marvel stamp which breeze right on by thanks to the charisma of its actors.
|Screenplay By||Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski|
|Date Released (Netflix)||10/25/2019|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Action, Biopic|
|Good If You Like|
|Rudy Ray Moore||Eddie Murphy|
|D’Urville Martin||Wesley Snipes|
|Lady Reed||Da’vine Joy Randolph|
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Plot Summary/ Review
Before there was Tyler Perry, there was Rudy Ray Moore. A man from Arkansas who left the state to make it big. However, whether we’re talking about music or comedy, it originally seemed his glass ceiling was mediocrity. That is until he was inspired, or stole, from members of Los Angeles’ homeless population and popularized the character DOLEMITE! A being that gained him success, fame, and best of all – money.
But, never satisfied, and always willing and able to bet on himself, finding success on the chitlin circuit and comedy albums wasn’t enough. Rudy decided to make a movie. Leading to him borrowing money, getting his crew together, convincing established people to invest their time, and as for whether he ended up with a hit? Well, look at his name in history books.
Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs
Unfortunately, I grew up during the period when Murphy peaked with Shrek and Dreamgirls, so I know him more for his attempts at trying to do less-risque films than the kind of material which made him famous. So when it comes to Dolemite Is My Name, we get a brilliant mix of him honing in on the dramatic chops he showed in Dreamgirls and Mr. Church, combined with the Eddie Murphy that was once one of the top acts in entertainment.
Like Murphy, Welsey Snipes’ career isn’t anywhere near his peak back in the 80s/90s. However, also like Murphy, Snipes as D’Urville taps into what we have formerly seen from Snipes. But, with him, I’d say he tapped more into his comedic appeal, a la To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, minus the drag and being feminine. Meaning, Snipes was definitely a bit of a hot mess. Not to the point of giving Murphy a run for his money, but he was definitely making sure Murphy was not going to shadow him in any scenes they were in together.
Nearly Every Supporting Character Is Given A Chance To Shine
With a cast that has Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes, you may think those who are just stars of television, like Keegan-Michael Key or Tituss Burgess, or those who mostly have worked in ensembles or supporting roles, like Mike Epps and Craig Robinson, might be forgettable. For the most part, that isn’t true. If anything, the majority of the supporting characters are given multiple chances to shine, but the one who stands out the most is Da’vine Joy Randolph as Lady Reed.
As the female lead of the film, who can be as vulgar as Murphy’s character, she goes toe to toe with Murphy often. Leading to them playing off each other in ways that push you to hope Murphy will cast Randolph as his wife, sister, friend, whatever, in a future production. It would be a shame if the chemistry they showed as scene partners was limited to just this one film.
But even outside of when sharing a scene with Murphy, Randolph gives a voice to women who don’t necessarily look like some of the big names blaxploitation. She is a woman of a certain size, and whether we’re talking about the person Randolph’s character is based on or herself, you don’t see either too often. If anything, when a thick Black woman is required, 9/10 you see Jill Scott cast in the role. So, thank the lord, now Hollywood is being exposed to alternatives so we can get some variety. For this film proves Randolph can not only hang, but command a scene even without a big name providing an assist.
For A Movie That Is Two Hours, It Moves So Quick You’d Have To Look Twice
If you ever find yourself hitting the pause button while watching this movie, you might be surprised how far along you are. I’d reckon that is because the pace of the movie doesn’t drag out when Rudy hits a speed bump, and while this is a biopic, it has little to no slow and dramatic moments. If anything, the film tries to be more aspirational than it tries to vie for acclaim due to someone’s dramatic performance. Thus giving you very little reason to check your watch or wonder when they are going to wrap this thing up since they lost you a while ago.
On The Fence
It’s Funny, But Not Gut Busting Funny
I should note, despite all the comedic talent in this, and their antics, this probably won’t be the funniest movie you’ve ever seen, or have seen this year. The comedy, if anything, is made to help keep the movie moving and the audience engaged. So while you will laugh or giggle, I wouldn’t expect any knee-slapping kind of moments or jokes.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
While Dolemite Is My Name may not be the funniest movie you ever saw, it does succeed in highlighting who Rudy Ray Moore is and being an inspiring biopic focused on his rise to fame. It also helps you understand that before Tyler Perry, among others, there was this man from the middle of nowhere who, with a dream, and the right team, found success. Granted, by stealing part of his shtick from a homeless person, but isn’t the American way taking from those who don’t know how to market or commercialize something and use your knowledge to do so?
That comment aside, the Dolemite Is My Name is worth seeing as it feels like the beginning of a new era for Murphy. One in which, while the star, there is this vibe he is trying to put others on by making them shine almost as bright as he does on screen. Thus we get the actor whose work we love and the next generation who will be using their paved road or following their blueprint to design their own.