Eddie Murphy at His Best in Netflix’s ‘Dolemite’

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Film Review
Not Rated (Netflix; release date: Oct. 25, 2019)

“It’s filthy! You’ve got a product here that you can’t sell or promote!” 

Honestly? I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to see Eddie Murphy doing his magnificent best on the big screen until I saw him come to life as the late, great Rudy Ray Moore in Netflix’s “Dolemite Is My Name.”

In a role quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen him in, he is clearly having the time of his life in this densely detailed, star-packed, lovingly hilarious homage to the larger-than-life ’70s music, comedy and blaxploitation icon.

At two particular points we laughed so hard I almost passed out, while the other got an applause break.

Given the film’s lavish, superior color, sound and highly detailed production, if at all possible, I strongly recommend seeing it first on the big screen (“Dolemite Is My Name” is playing nationwide in select theaters, debuting on Netflix Oct. 25).

Dolemite is truly a return to superb form and a profound labor of love for Murphy and all involved. The entire supporting cast brings their A-game.

Wesley Snipes handily and hilariously reminds us why he came to prominence in the first place. Craig Robinson will now have to perform the theme song in his live shows from now on. Snoop Dogg (who’s become quite the credible thespian of late), as well as Mike Epps, Titus Burgess, Keegan-Michael Key and others, give this film joyous life.

Pay particular attention to the luminous and unforgettable Da’Vine Joy Randolph, as Murphy’s seemingly unconventional sidekick Lady Reed. She’s got a fresh, bold, terrific, though eerily similar Jill Scott kinda’ vibe, and steals a few scenes as well.

Murphy completely immerses himself dually as his professional hero and onscreen persona of Dolemite. His all-consuming performance may be remembered as one of his very best.

Production-wise, the film leaves nothing to chance. Its full of the funky fresh flavor of the ’70s, and everything from the score to even the background props are meticulously curated and impressively displayed.

Written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (“Ed Wood”), artfully directed by Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow,” “Coming 2 America”), and thoughtfully and appropriately dedicated to Charlie Murphy, the entire lavish, herculean production was designed and styled under the supremely gifted gaze of the legendary Ruth E. Carter (“Black Panther”).

Much like its central figure, Rudy Ray Moore, “Dolemite Is My Name” ends up becoming a rapturous, absorbing, intensely authentic, transportive, entertaining experience that will not only have you laughing throughout, you will fall helplessly in love with it.


Andre is a Los Angeles-based writer and stand-up comedian.

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