Dolemite Is My Name
A has-been restyles himself for B-movie stardom.
Welcome back, Eddie Murphy, said David Sims in The Atlantic. The faded comedy star appears revitalized in this new movie about Rudy Ray Moore, a performer best known for Dolemite, a “so-bad-it’s-good” 1975 blaxploitation film in which he played a rhyming, kung fu–kicking pimp who takes on crooked cops with the help of an army of women. That movie transformed Moore from a fading stand-up performer to an underground star, and while Dolemite Is My Name proves “perfectly charming” as a biopic, “it’s most exciting to watch as a reminder of just how good Murphy can be when he’s committed to the material.” Murphy shares screen time here with Chris Rock, Tituss Burgess, Craig Robinson, Keegan-Michael Key, and Wesley Snipes, “all of them great fun to watch,” said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. But the easy humor—and the movie’s insistence on treating Moore as essentially the same clownish hustler he portrayed—greatly lowers the dramatic stakes. “It’s almost alarming how breezily the film goes down,” said David Edelstein in NYMag.com. Still, it’s an “award-worthy” effort, one that gives Murphy “his best material in decades.”
Matthew Murphy, Joan Marcus, A24 Pictures, François Duhamel ■