MegaNerd98’s review published on Letterboxd:
I honestly did not know much about Dolemite Is My Name going in. All I knew is that it was a biopic about a blaxploitation star (Didn't even know it was Rudy Ray Moore until I actually watched the movie) and that it featured the return of Eddie Murphy to feature films after being largely retired from the industry from nearly a decade. As you can see, I went into this largely blind and I think the movie is best experienced that way. Seriously, if you have ANY interest in watching Dolemite Is My Name, go watch it on Netflix right now and come back to read this review later. Not that there's anything particularly spoiler-heavy, it's just that it's so difficult to go into any movie blind these days and Netflix films are often some of the few you can. This is further aided by the simple fact that Dolemite Is My Name..... is really freaking good.
This is probably the biggest cinematic pleasant surprise of the year. A raunchy yet inspiring biopic featuring a terrific nearly all-black cast, hysterical comedy, great music, and a fascinating reflection on the 1970s worlds of stand-up and cinema. The performances are fantastic across the board, with the likes of Titus Burgess, Craig Robinson, Keegan-Michael Key, and Wesley Snipes really giving it their all. Snoop Dogg also has a small, but fun role as a DJ who initially rejects Rudy's music and Chris Rock is pretty good too. The biggest highlight of the supporting cast is Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Lady Reed. She brings gripping character drama, laugh-out-loud funny comedy, and even her tremendous singing voice to make an already stacked movie even better.
However, the best performance of the bunch is of course Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore. God, I can't remember the last time Eddie Murphy was this good in anything. He's funny, he sings, he's got a ton of great character moments. This could easily be an Oscar-worthy performance all on its own, but based on the clips shown of the actual Dolemite movies, he also captures the persona of the real-life Rudy Ray Moore/Dolemite to a tee. The Eddie Murphy Renaissance has begun in earnest with this performance and I'm so glad it's finally here.
On top of great performances and raucous comedy, Dolemite Is My Name primarily gains its appeal from its wonderful and inspiring story. Rudy goes from failing musician to stand-up comic to goddamn movie star in a journey that feels at once completely realistic and like fairytale wish fulfillment. The insight into the filmmaking process is fascinating and the overall, "We made a movie, we actually fucking did it" attitude expressed by the characters felt very much inspiring to me as someone who is both performing similar experiences in stage theatre and is hoping to break into the film industry itself. Great stuff, all around.
My only real complaints with this movie, which are incredibly minor, is that the pacing could be a tad slow at times and I don't know how accurate this is to the real-world story of Rudy Ray Moore. I haven't heard any major complaints about its accuracy in the news or online, but I haven't looked into the real-world story; so therefore I just don't know. Other than that, Dolemite Is My Name is funny, heartfelt, inspiring, tearjerking, delightfully vulgar, filled to the brim with great music and great performances; and is not only one of the best films of 2019, but easily the best biopic I've seen since The Disaster Artist. If "fucking up motherfuckers" is your game, do yourself a favor and give it a watch.