Director: Craig Brewer
Writer: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Craig Robinson, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Snoop Dogg, Wesley Snipes
Nominations: Two Golden Globes for Best Musical or Comedy, and Best Actor (Eddie Murphy)
Stung by a string of showbiz failures, floundering comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) has an epiphany that turns him into a word-of-mouth sensation: step onstage as someone else. Borrowing from the street mythology of 1970s Los Angeles, Moore assumes the persona of Dolemite, a pimp with a cane and an arsenal of obscene fables. However, his ambitions exceed selling bootleg records deemed too racy for mainstream radio stations to play. Moore convinces a social justice-minded dramatist (Keegan-Michael Key) to write his alter ego a film, incorporating kung fu, car chases, and Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), an ex-backup singer who becomes his unexpected comedic foil. Despite clashing with his pretentious director, D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), and countless production hurdles at their studio in the dilapidated Dunbar Hotel, Moore’s Dolemite becomes a runaway box office smash and a defining movie of the Blaxploitation era
In the flat-out hilarious 1970s period piece “Dolemite Is My Name,” Murphy is the funniest he’s been since we last saw Sherman Klump and family in the early 2000s — but he’s equally effective in the handful of relatively low-key, dramatic moments. It’s a fully realized performance.
Eddie Murphy takes a good idea and runs with it, soars with it, and turns it into a great, if wildly erratic, twofer tribute — to a singular legend of black entertainment culture, and to the transformative power of raunchy, outrageous humor.
The Wall Street Journal
Murphy…brings so much hope and hunger and pure life force to the role that he makes you believe in every punchline, pelvic thrust, and egregiously misplaced karate kick