“You know what we should have? An all girl kung fu army!”Review by Lily Taylor
‘Dolemite Is My Name’ is actually a biographical comedy based on the life of 70’s badass Rudy Ray Moore who starred in the original 1975 film ‘Dolemite’ and what better actor to play him than the hilarious Eddie Murphy. The film begins with Rudy Ray working in a record store by day and a music club by night and searching for his big break in 70’s LA. Inspired by the drunken stories of an old homeless man, Moore comes up with the character of Dolemite; a lewd, crude pimp who performs obscene comedy for public amusement. After some success with his comedy records, Rudy Ray decides to gamble his royalties and fund ‘Dolemite’ the movie, starring himself of course.
Eddie Murphy is comedy gold in this movie, he is brash and vulgar as Dolemite but a savvy, hustler with a dream as Rudy Ray. He is so likeable as Rudy, his unshakeable self belief is so endearing and watching a man with no formal training attempt to make a kung fu movie is almost slapstick. His character is complimented by some great supporting roles. Keegan-Michael Key writes the screenplay for dolemite and is a surprisingly sophisticated character compared to the rest of the gang. Wesley Snipes and Da’Vine Joy Randolph play Eddie Murphy’s costars in their homemade movie and bring their own unique comedic take to it. Not to mention a cameo from Snoop Dogg as Moore’s colleague, a record store DJ.
The only thing I liked more than the comedy in this movie was the groovy 70’s soundtrack. It was so immersive, it oozes 1970’s Hollywood and I laughed all the way through. Although quite clearly a comedy, the characters still felt fleshed out and multi dimensional. Lady Reed, played by Randolph, is a single mum and a plus size lady who never thought a woman like her would end up on the big screen. Individual storylines like that running alongside Dolemite’s rise to fame add depth to the comedy. It’s a feel good movie too, I really wanted this obscene, kung fu movie to succeed and I was left wanting to watch the original 1975 version of Dolemite!