Friday, January 24, 2020

Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Biography, Drama
Length: 118 minutes
Rating:  R
Production/Distribution: Netflix, Davis Entertainment
Director: Craig Brewer
Writers: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Actors: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Wesley Snipes, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock, Ron Cephas Jones, Barry Shabaka Henley, T.I., Luenell, Tasha Smith, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Aleksandar Filimonovic, Ivo Nandi, Michael Peter Bolus, Kazy Tauginas, Bj Bingham

Blurb from IMDb:  Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have been looking forward to this movie since I saw its first trailer. Both Selina and I listed Dolemite Is My Name within our Top 20 for October 2019. Speaking for myself, I am certainly glad I did – and wish I’d listed it higher in my rankings. It was, however, the month of Halloween and the urge to stack more horror than other genres was a temptation I couldn’t escape.

After watching this comedy biopic, I can safely say that Netflix gave us a decidedly good treat, and there were no tricks.

Eddie Murphy (Shrek Forever After, Tower Heist, Mr. Church) was absolutely perfect in the role based on the very real Rudy Ray Moore (Shaolin Dolemite, The Watermelon Heist, Vampire Assassin). I honestly can’t think of anyone else that could have done the titular character justice. I’m excited that a new generation has a chance to experience a classic Murphy performance like this.
Though, my inner 80’s baby, who is still rocking out to Axel-F from the Beverly Hills Cop (1984) soundtrack, is a bit on the fence with the upcoming sequels planned to both that franchise and Coming To America (1988). Part of me is excited, and the rest is worried about sequelitis. I digress…

Dolemite was a comedic legend as a larger-than-life character. It didn’t matter if the movies were cheesy or campy – that was part of their charm. It was fitting that the star-studded cast of today assembled to pay homage to the beginnings of a legend.

Seriously – this film was stacked with comedic genius and personalities that are deeply woven into our pop culture of today. Keegan-Michael Key (Lets Be Cops, Tomorrowland, Keanu) and Craig Robinson (Table 19, Ghosted, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot) might as well have had one of those time machine tubs, because they helped bring us back to the ‘70s. Mike Epps (Girls Trip, Acts of Violence, Uncle Drew) and Wesley Snipes (The Expendables 3, Chi-Raq, Armed Response) were among the notables as well. The latter portrayed a character far removed from his usual action style – and nailed it.

Of course, one couldn’t forget Snoop Dog’s (What Are the Chances?, Future World, The Beach Bum) presence in this film. Moore appeared as his Dolemite character in one of Snoop Dogg’s music videos, so this makes sense as a tribute to the lauded ‘godfather of rap.’

That wasn’t even the full list of notables participating with this production!

I appreciated the care that the production team took in staying faithful to the character and story of Moore’s journey. It paid off with many laughs and a satisfying feeling as the credits rolled.

I would recommend this movie in a heartbeat to anyone that is a fan of comedy. I’ll probably be watching this one again soon, in fact. 

P.S. There are additional scenes during the credits, some of which show a comparison between original Dolemite movie scenes and this one. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 97%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 91%
Metascore – 76%
Metacritic User Score – 7.5/10
IMDB Score – 7.3/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5

Movie Trailer:

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