"Outrageous Comical Biography"
What You Need To Know:
DOLEMITE IS MY NAME is a very filthy movie, but it has lots of comic energy. Eddie Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore with maximum gusto. Ultimately, however, despite all its energy DOLEMITE IS MY NAME has a very strong pagan, immoral worldview with constantly obscene, lewd foul language and content. The story is about a hardworking businessman, with a sunny, friendly disposition, who achieves success and wild popularity, but media-wise moviegoers will stay away from DOLEMITE IS MY NAME.
DOLEMITE IS MY NAME is an extremely raunchy, comical biography about the groundbreaking, unlikely stand-up comic and Blaxploitation 1970s filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore and his breakthrough role playing a foul-mouthed pimp character named Dolemite. Eddie Murphy plays the title role with maximum gusto, but DOLEMITE IS MY NAME has a very strong pagan, immoral worldview with constantly obscene, lewd foul language and content in a story about a hardworking businessman with a sunny disposition.
The movie stars 1980s comedy superstar Eddie Murphy in a comeback role perfectly tailored to his daringly naughty personality. He plays the real-life person Rudy Ray Moore, who was a struggling comedian and record store assistant manager in the early 1970s who dreamed of making it big in comedy but feels like it’s too late.
One night, he seeks out a drunken bum who hangs out at his record store, reciting obscene limericks involving sexual exploits by animals and, separately, the adventures of a boastful pimp named Dolemite. Rudy records the bum’s endless array of jokes and starts to perfect them in his apartment. He gives the jokes a written, performance flair that, when combined with outrageous suits, results in a wild new stage persona that black patrons in the dive bar where Rudy emcees suddenly love.
Rudy soon decides to record a comedy album of his dirty jokes and sells it out of his car trunk throughout South Central Los Angeles after a record company tells him it’s too filthy to ever possibly sell well. A new underground success, Rudy finds himself pursued by another record label and sets off on a tour of African-American nightclubs across the Deep South.
There, he teams up with a heavyset woman named Queen Bee (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) as his onstage partner, and the two wind up becoming a wild success together. When Rudy is miffed by the stiff humor of the Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau movie THE FRONT PAGE, he decides it’s time to take his onstage and recording success and establish himself as an independent movie star.
However, no studio will give Rudy him the money for his wild idea to center a film around the adventures of a pimp named Dolemite, replete with topless women and lots of kung-fu antics. So, Rudy gathers together a ragtag collection of his friends as well as a pretentious playwright. He places them all under the direction of a popular black actor named D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), and the wild ride to improbable success takes flight.
DOLEMITE IS MY NAME is a very filthy movie. However, the title role is expertly played with maximum gusto by Murphy, who summons the anarchic comic energy that made him a star in movies like TRADING PLACES and 48 HRS in the 1980s. This movie precedes a major comedy special on Netflix scheduled for 2020 and a now-filming sequel to his 1988 hit COMING TO AMERICA and, later, BEVERLY HILLS COP 4.
Murphy shows both the nearly insane high confidence of Rudy Ray Moore as well as the sadness of a man whose dreams have been crushed for years. Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have built a strange Hollywood career by crafting biopics of unusual people on the fringes of society, such as low-rent filmmaker Ed Wood and notorious pornographer Larry Flynt.
Ultimately, though, despite all its energy DOLEMITE IS MY NAME remains an abhorrent movie with nearly constant obscene language and lewd content. It likely will help Eddie Murphy make his comeback, but media-wise moviegoers and most others will stay away.