Dolemite is his name and watching films is my game. Eddie Murphy stars as Rudy Ray Moore, a filmmaker and comedian hustling his way through entertainment industry in 1970s. What you get out of Dolemite Is My Name is pure good time, wide smiles from start to finish and smooth acting performances.
The best part about the movie is that it’s genuinely amusing, starting with Rudy and ending with Dolemite. Never does it take the foot off the pedal but instead it flies by like that. Something I need to point out: I’m not too familiar with Moore so I can’t really speak to accuracy of his depiction. However I do think that Murphy is at the top of his skillset, you could say it’s a return for him to be worthy of being the starring man once again. Everything he does is heightened to wonderfulness, the doubts, aspirations and gratification from both successes and failures. Da’Vine Joy Randolph is remarkable as Lady Reed, a character who is kind of like the grounded half of Moore personality-wise. There’s also a lot to look at when it comes to costumes, displaying a burst of colors without ever feeling disjointed even when serious moments are happening.
Just like many biopics do, Dolemite Is My Name also runs into trouble with set-ups and resolves. In the beginning we’re introduced to a character named Ricco who I kept expecting to come back at least in some form. But the way that is left unresolved cheapens the film’s story, also considering how the rest of it makes Moore to be perceived. Similarly we get small moments with his family and about his music career and that just ends up being waste of time because all of it gets forgotten. So we’re on to the next set, just like that.
Smileys: Costume design, Eddie Murphy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Frowneys: Originality, structure
The film just isn’t quite as big and explosive as Dolemite himself is.