01st Nov2019

‘Dolemite Is My Name’ Review

by Alex Ginnelly

Stars: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Snoop Dogg, Barry Shabaka Henley, T.I., Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock | Written by Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski | Directed by Craig Brewer


For the first time since Coming to America, Eddie Murphy has once again reached the peak of his power that made him one of the biggest stars in the world. This performance may be the most entertaining, most electrifying and most honest he’s ever given. A true celebration of the creative soul that was Rudy Ray Moore.

Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who in the 70s decide to take a crack at his dream and make his very own movie. With a star studded and vibrant cast that explode to life on screen, this true story is more fun than you’re likely to have anywhere else this year.

There’s something sharp and playful in the hands of the filmmakers, something so colourful that the movie comes to life before your eyes and almost dares to dance beyond the screen. It captures a magic that few films can, pulling you into the world and the family that the world has created. In this world we’re aloud to laugh and feel real emotions that can connect to any of us with a dream. This is the story of dreams. About never giving up on them and when one comes true, never letting it go.

It’s chasing the dream that sees Eddie Murphy so perfectly cast, as an actor who’s fallen from grace with a list movies to his name that fall so short of the mountain he conquered in the 80s. With classic films to his name like Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hrs, Trading Places and Coming to America, Eddie Murphy adds another, and maybe the best to that list with Dolemite Is My Name. His performance is honest, true and feels more real than anything he’s ever done. He lets his heart and hope play first, pouring out the passion and love that embodies Rudy Ray Moore, and then comes the comedy. There was never a doubt Eddie Murphy could make us laugh, it was never the question and it’s always granted, but here with the layered performance the comedy comes out in bright bursts of life that don’t feel like Eddie but feel like Rudy Ray Moore. In doing all this Eddie Murphy has captured a true performance that may (and probably should) see him get that Oscar nomination.

The rest of the cast shines too, they are all unique, all feel lived in and part of a breathing world. We never question a single character and fall in love with each member of Rudy Ray Moore’s family. Wesley Snipes is unrecognisable and better than he’s ever been, Keegan-Michael Key and Da’Vine Joy Randolph are breath of fresh air that bring added layers to this already stellar cast. The cast is what brings this movie to life and takes it to the next level, others would fall short or feel generic, but with this cast and Eddie Murphy as their lead, they march forward into one of the funniest films of the year. Director Craig Brewer has crafted a living breathing 70s with a soundtrack to rival the very best, and costume designer Ruth E. Carter has out done herself with the best dressed film this year, every character is given their own unique style that add so much more funk to the 70s than the soundtrack ever could. Carter has layered each character with their own suit of armour ready to take to the streets of LA and unleash their own disco charged attack on us the viewer.

It’s so much to take in, so much to love and so much heart to smile at that by the end its all you’ll be doing. I could hear Eddie Murphy echo the name Dolemite forevermore.

**** 4/5

Dolemite Is My Name is on Netflix now.


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