Luke Thorne’s review published on Letterboxd:
Craig Brewer’s comedy drama based on the life of Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy), a funny and rap innovator who verified pessimists wrong.
The movie concentrates on the story of entertainer Rudy Ray Moore, who expected the part of a really famous pimp named Dolemite in the middle of the 1970s.
Rudy Ray Moore was born on Thursday 17 March 1927 and was well-known for being a comedian, actor, musician and vocalist (he could just about do anything in the entertainment industry).
He was also known for creating the character Dolemite, for a 1975 movie of the same name and its two sequels that followed. Known as “the Godfather of Rap”, Rudy Ray Moore died on Sunday 19 October 2008, aged 81 from complications of diabetes.
Eddie Murphy gives a good performance in his role as Rudy Ray Moore, the performer in 1970s America who certainly proved the doubters that he could do what it was that he did. He suits his role well and makes the most of the time he has on the screen.
Elsewhere, there are fine performances to be had from Luenell, Keegan-Michael Key and Da’Vine Joy Randolph in their respective roles as Rudy’s Aunt, Jerry Jones and Lady Reed, with Jerry being the playwright and Lady Reed the single mother who Rudy helps.
Also giving respectable performances are Craig Robinson and Mike Epps as Ben Taylor and Jimmy Lynch, two of Rudy’s friends.
The direction from Brewer is good because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while also keeping a tense atmosphere happening as well and the script is written to a decent standard by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski as they make the movie good to follow.
However, I do feel that there is too much bad language in the script. I comprehend that some of it is needed for anger and frustration, but on other occasions, it’s not needed and is offensive at times.
The camera and costume stand out best in terms of the technical aspects, because the camera makes good use of the locations and also captures the tense moments well, which get the edge-of-the-seat status; the costumes are nicely designed.
At the time of writing, Dolemite is My Name got Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor (Eddie Murphy), both in the Musical or Comedy categories.
But these I disagree with, because although this film is certainly not bad and Murphy’s performance is good, I don’t consider this film to be worthy of awards season.
Overall, it is not outstanding, but Dolemite is My Name is a decent biographical film, due to the good performance in particular from Eddie Murphy, along with the direction, script and tense atmosphere. However, it’s just too offensive for me to actually like it.