It was the surprise, break-out hit at this year's Toronto Film Festival, and as history repeats itself, Dolemite - against all odds - once again finds its way onto the big-screen.
Eddie Murphy is back...but the truth is he's never left. With his performance as Rudy Ray Moore, the real-life hustler and star of the 1970s blaxploitation classic, "Dolemite," he gives an electric and award-worthy performance, and shows everyone that he is still a superstar...in case there was any doubt.
A struggling grifter working several small jobs to make ends meet, Rudy dreams of the big-time. But nothing is coming to fruition. One day, he happens upon a hobo in the streets of Philadelphia and hear's him regaling him a story about a fictional "bad-mo-fo" named Dolemite. Moore takes on the persona of Dolemite on stage at a local club, spouting street-rhymes that he picked up from the bums, and he becomes a hit. This success leads him to create several popular but raunchy comedy albums that he first sells out of the trunk of his car, but soon they become an underground cult hit. When taking in a movie with friends, Moore has an astounding idea: He's going to bring Dolemite to the big-screen, where he can play in theaters across the country all at once.
Along with his fast friend Lady Reed (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), musician Ben Taylor (Craig Robinson) and associate (Mike Epps), he recruits a writer for his film, Jerry Jones (Keegan-Michael Key) and then lands his director, the auteur-in-his-own-mind, D'Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), who he cons into joining the production by telling him he can star and direct the film (which Martin reluctantly does). They hire a crew of film students to shoot the thing, he gets some financing by trading away all of his comedy album rights, and the rest, as they say, is history.
"Dolemite Is My Name" is the feel-good comedy of the year about the making of "Dolemite," and although it is a hard-R-rating, it had me smiling from ear to ear from start to finish. The ensemble is fantastic, with Murphy as a scene-stealing stand-out, but its the performances of both Wesley Snipes AND Da'Vine Joy Randolph that really deserve praise as well. Snipes brings an eccentricity to the character of Martin that makes him feel like no one you've ever seen on screen before, and Randolph's Lady Reed is the emotional center of the film. In one scene, Reed thanks Moore for putting her in the "Dolemite" movie, because - as she says - there is no one who looks like her ever represented in the movies. I was thinking the same thing watching Randolph in "Dolemite Is My Name," and I truly hope she is recognized for her work.
It's fast-paced and fast-talking, and "Dolemite Is My Name" is sure to please. It's no wonder they're releasing it in theaters ahead of its October 25th Netflix release...this is one that is enhanced greatly by seeing it with a big crowd. Somehow, someway, Rudy Ray Moore was able to not only make his film, but get it in theaters, and then have it turn into a cult-classic film...is it that surprising then, that the cult-classic film has now turned into a thing of legend, much like Dolemite himself?
Genre: Comedy, Biography.
Run Time: 1 hour 57 minutes.
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Tituss Burgess, Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson, Snoop Dogg, Mike Epps, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chris Rock.
Directed by Craig Brewer ("Footloose (2011)," "Black Snake Moan," "Hustle & Flow").
"Dolemite Is My Name" is in select theaters on Friday, October 11th, 2019, and available to stream on NETFLIX on October 25th, 2019.
Watch below for an exclusive interview with the cast!
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