Dolemite Is My Name, directed by Craig Brewer, is a biographical comedy starring Eddie Murphy. Murphy plays the filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore who is famous for his Blaxploitation film, Dolemite (1975). The film shows viewers the making of Dolemite-Moore's bold, raunchy comedic character-and his journey to stardom. It's an energetic film that's got just as much swagger as Dolemite himself.
Rudy Moore wants everyone in the world to know him. Escaping rural Arkansas to make a name for himself, he works a day job as an assistant manager at a record store. During the evening hours, he moonlights as an emcee at a nightclub. Before ushering in the performers, he tries out tiny bits of his comedy routine and falls flat. But one day, inspiration strikes. A homeless man makes trouble at the record store and catches his eye. Thanks to him, Rudy develops a character to play: Dolemite. Donning the garish garb of a street pimp, he delivers rhyming claims of sexual bravado in jaunty cadence. And when he brings this character to life in the nightclub, the audience's reaction gives him the confidence to forge forward. Rudy doesn't stop until Dolemite reaches the silver screen.
The story itself successfully follows a well-worn narrative structure. However, just because it's a familiar path does not mean it's not a pleasure to watch. Rudy's road to success is full of bumps, and it engages viewers in a meaningful way. The stakes, while not necessarily the most dramatic or life-threatening, are relatable, and Rudy's determination draws viewers in with a winsome respect. Viewers are apt to enjoy each of his victories, every one bigger than the last; it's easy to root for Rudy to succeed.
Not only is the story well written, the script is full of laughs. The movie's sense of humor finds its fun in verbal sparring and sexual braggadocio. Of course, it takes the right actors to pull it off, and there's a cast of great actors here. They all work together to great effect as well. Between Murphy and his entourage, there's a sense of genuine chemistry. Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, and Tituss Burgess all banter well with him. With a natural camaraderie among them, the friendships they portray shine well in between the jabs they throw at each other's egos. The rest of the cast are no slouches either. Not a single part was phoned in-even bit parts were made memorable with actors who inhabited their roles well.
In the movie, playwright Jerry Jones (Keegan-Michael Key) says that he strives to not only entertain, but inform as well. Dolemite Is My Name meets that goal. It's is well-made film that's certainly worth watching. Movie goers who enjoy the likes of Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock are bound to be delighted.