Dolemite is my Name is the new Netflix film starring Eddie Murphy that tells the story of Rudy Ray Moore and the creation of the Dolemite character. I was for the most part completely unaware of this story and have not seen a lot of movies with Eddie Murphy so I came in with pretty much no expectations.
One aspect of the movie that absolutely holds it back is how conventional the structure is. While it never dragged at certain points, I could see plot beats from miles away and from a story perspective it does nothing unique. Normally that would make the movie completely forgettable but Dolemite is my Name has this energy to it that makes it one of the most entertaining movies of the year.
The fast pace is complemented so well by the atmosphere director Craig Brewer creates. Brewer and cinematographer Eric Steelberg give this film a cheap look that highlights the wild subject matter. At points it can feel like more of an episode of TV rather than a feature film but for the most part sequences like the montage in the first half have so much energy it’s hard to look away.
Furthermore, the set and costume design perfectly captures the time period of the movie. For several sequences I felt lost in that period with the characters. All these technical elements made the film stand out from a traditional biopic.
But the humour is what really makes this movie memorable. Although the structure is very generic and some dialogue feels awkward, the screenwriters didn’t pull any punches. There are moments of comedy that are so absurd and pulled off so well by an incredibly talented cast. Some of the scenes felt similar to moments in The Disaster Artist but more extreme and unexpected. Considering the cast is stacked with talented actors such as Wesley Snipes and Craig Robinson, it’s no surprise that most of the comedic beats landed. Even actors I wasn’t familiar with like Da’Vine Joy Randolph crushed every moment. She had one scene in particular that highlighted the importance of representation and was very powerful.
As someone who wasn’t very familiar with Eddie Murphy, I had no idea what to expect. His performance here makes me extremely excited to revisit some of his classics and whatever he does next. He bounced so well off every other member of the cast and was consistently hilarious. Every scene he was in had so much energy and that’s what Eddie Murphy brings to the table. A sense of energy that not many other actors in Hollywood have. His captivating performance was the highlight of Dolemite is my Name.
Overall, Dolemite is my Name is one of the most fun movies of the year due to its quick pace, atmosphere and near perfect performances. Its path to perfection is blocked by a structure that feels too familiar for its own good.
FINAL RATING: 8/10
Watch the movie on Netflix
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