Dolemite Is My Name


By Joanna Langfield

Yes, this movie is a total blast. But it also may be the sweetest picture so far this year.

In one of his best performances yet, Eddie Murphy stars as Rudy Ray Moore, a real life not so successful standup comedian who tried to make it big in the Los Angeles of the swinging 1970s. After a little help from his street buddies, Rudy creates an alter ego, a character named Dolomite and things start looking up. But what Ray and his close knit group of friends really want is success on the silver screen, to create an alternative to the lily white, safe comedies that rule the day. Putting it all on the line, they create their own, outrageous and slaphappy action picture. But can they get anybody to see it? Will they at least earn their money back, let alone break into the existing movie business?

True confessions: I am a complete sucker for movies about movies, especially ones that take us into the world of the underdog, the people who, somehow, make a picture close to their dreams. So, these few months, with Tarentino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and now this, have been a lot of fun for me. But I can’t imagine anyone not having fun watching this appreciative salute to the man who, ultimately, made a ton of money in Hollywood and became a grandfather of Rap music. Happily, this isn’t just a movie about Rudy, it’s also about his wonderful assortment of friends, (standouts including Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Mike Epps) and the vibrant world in which they live. Shout out too, to Ruth E Carter, whose costumes are characters onto themselves, but what wins our hearts is the soul that simmers in Murphy’s still dandy timing and irrefutable dramatic understanding.