Eddie Murphy makes a fascinating comeback with his new Netflix production, Dolemite Is My Name, a biopic of an Afro-American comedian, Rudy Ray Moore, whose life’s journey is like a joyride. From a record store employee, the comedian paved his way up to become a famous comic and, eventually, a movie star of a cult blaxploitation franchise. Directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan) whose works are highly influenced by blaxploitation movies, Murphy’s return to prominence is inevitable.
Dolemite Is My Name begins when struggling Moore had an epiphany to reinvent his career. Reinventing himself using ‘Dolemite’ name as his moniker, Moore created an onstage persona of a pimp and started to involve in stand-up routines. Soon he would be traveling on a comic tour to the Deep South before he’d got another epiphany about making a motion picture. There’s where Moore a.k.a. Dolemite assembled his filmmaking team, which includes playwright, Jerry Jones (Keegan-Michael Key), as his co-writer and Rosemary’s Baby actor, D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes) as the director. While the stand-up phenomenon making up for the first half, the making of the self-titled movie makes up the finest part of the movie during the second half.
There’s almost no dramatization in this biopic; everything is like a joyride from the beginning to end. Murphy’s charisma guides us through Moore’s giddy life. The script by American Crime Story‘s creators, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, seeks only hullaballoo and exhilarating moments, which Murphy delivers perfectly. Even director Craig Brewer is adeptly bringing out the campiness of 70s blaxploitation movie into this biopic without even trying. It’s all about having fun even when you learn that character development barely exists; but, still, Murphy’s performance as a foul-mouthed yet good-spirited comedian is top-grade.
Aside from Murphy’s finest performance of the decade, Dolemite Is My Name is adorned with stellar performances from the supporting actors. The all-comedic ensemble of casts includes Craig Robinson (The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Titus Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), a small role from Luenell, Da’Vine Joy Randolph with her energetic singing power, and many others. We will still see Key and Snipes alongside Kodi Smit-McPhee (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: Apocalypse); and some genuine moments by Snoop Dogg, T.I, Chris Rock, and even, Bob Odenkirk. From the rosters alone, you’ll know that it’s a feast.
Along with Tim Burton’s Ed Wood and James Franco’s The Disaster Artist, Dolemite Is My Name makes genuine tributes to the so-bad-it-is-good movies. It’s a feel-good biopic which might induce guilty pleasure feelings. Maybe it’s also a career revival for Eddie Murphy. His stunning performance cannot be better.