Tuesday, December 3, 2019

[Review] Dolemite Is My Name

Eddie Murphy returns to give one of the best performances of his career with Dolemite Is My Name — a funny, funky, groovy, entertaining romp of over-the-top comedy and showbiz exploits.

Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, a down-and-out comedian who creates a raunchy and flamboyant alter ego named Dolemite as an attempt to re-spark his career. Following his debut performance, he blows up faster than you can say Dolemite Is My Name. A nationwide tour and several hit albums (even a Christmas album — that’s how you know you’ve made it) later, he’s ready to take his talents to the big screen. A huge chunk of the duration follows the making of the Dolemite movie — a kung-fu-themed blaxploitation film with “pimps and guns and boobies.” Will it ever get made? Will it be good? Will the studios want it? Will the people want it? 

Eddie Murphy gives a hilarious tour de force performance. He’s practically in every single scene and he kills it with riotous energy, enthusiasm, and swagger. There’s even a couple of tender, serious moments that add range and dimension to his character. The supporting cast is stacked. Keegan-Michael Key, Snoop Dogg, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Chris Rock, and Wesley Snipes (hysterical) all make amusing appearances. 

The elaborate production is spunked with flair and verve, and there’s enough funny lines and sight gags to keep you cracking up every minute. It also contains one of the funniest sex scenes ever. The film is surprisingly clever, too. The story dives into the art of performance art, the art of hustling and grinding, the art of faking it ‘til you make it, and the art of navigating the industry. There’s thoughtful commentary on racial politics, ambition, inspiration, critic reception versus audience reception, and superstardom as well. 

It’s invigorating. It’s uproarious. And it knocks ‘em dead. Let Dolemite be an inspiration to us all. Get out and get it!

* 8.5/10 *

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