Dolemite Is My Name

Dolemite Is My Name ★★★½

Here we have an origin story not of a regular superman but of a truer, more believable hero; a determined man down on his luck who makes a name of himself by trusting himself and his cultural past. Rudy Ray Moore transforms into the titular Dolemite as easy as can be, which is a tad too easy perhaps. Even though Dolemite Is My Name verbalizes the hardship that has fallen upon our main character, it seems largely uninterested in building up the opposition and resistance Moore undoubtedly must have felt. On several levels, industrial and racial, hindrances and obstruction has blocked his way, but underdeveloped – but to be fair – humorous resolutions pave said way in such a manner that diminishes the satisfaction achieved by witnessing him overcome his problems. The film decides to embrace a not completely unattractive wholesome tone, but in doing so, the lasting effect of vicariously experiencing Moore’s ascension seems to fall as rapidly as it rose.

What then eases the easy nature of the story is the relentless charm found somewhere in all the characters. Murphy is great. His transformation into Moore is done perfectly convincing, and the way he carries himself, and the way he speaks and acts, it is like a magnetic attraction – a superpower, perhaps. The sidekick-ensemble joins in progressively through the story, and they all add a wonderful diverse flavor, which simply is so necessary in a film like this. A jaw-droppingly hilarious performance by Wesley Snipes not only carries this film home, but drives it in a limousine all the way to the box office.
Dolemite Is My Name neglects to dramatize the story; there are simply too many joyful moments and too few real obstacles to convey any significant tension, but there is fun to be had with these witty, idiosyncratic characters.

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