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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Dan's Review: "Dolemite is my Name" a true American Success Story

Oct 25, 2019 04:50PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Eddie Murphy, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, and Da'Vine Joy Randolph in Dolemite Is My Name - © 2019 Netflix.

Dolemite is my Name (Netflix)

Rated R for pervasive language, crude sexual content, and graphic nudity.

Starring Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Wesley Snipes, Aleksandar Filimonović, Tip "T.I." Harris, Chris Rock, Ron Cephas, Luenell, Gerald Downey, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tommie Earl Jenkins, Snoop Dogg.

Written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.

Directed by Craig Brewer.



The “American Dream” means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, it’s the opportunity to get an education, a job, or to make a fortune in a capitalistic society. For others, it’s the opportunity to fleece honest people out of their hard-earned fortunes. For a lucky few, the dream means to achieve great levels of fame and fortune, even when almost nobody believes in them. The latter is fitting for the late Rudy Ray Moore (may he rest in peace), a self-made entertainer who gained success by catering to an exclusive segment of the population way back in the 1970s. His story is the inspiration for Dolemite is my Name, a new comedy starring Eddie Murphy being released on Netflix this week.

Murphy plays Moore, a failed entertainer who taps into the language of homeless street drunks who would exaggerate their physical and sexual abilities to the point of absurdity for a few laughs. Inspired by their words, Rudy invents a new persona named “Dolemite,” dons a wig and “pimp” attire, and begins performing at inner-city L.A. clubs. As word of mouth spreads his fame, Moore takes things a step further, self-producing his own comedy recordings, which are sold out car trunks and on street corners, due to the foul language and the pornographic album covers. With moderate success and cult fame gained through road tours, Moore isn’t satisfied. Recognizing that his own people don’t have options at movie theaters, he decides to bring Dolemite to the big screen. Using whatever money he can borrow or gather, Moore sets up a movie studio inside an abandoned Skid Row hotel. He also gathers a group of his friends (Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, Tituss Burress) as “producers,” a screenwriter (Keegan-Michael Key), a female co-star (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), a director (Wesley Snipes), and a few film students to begin shooting his epic movie. As the movie shoot progresses, money begins to run out and Moore runs into a new obstacle: no film company will distribute his movie. Owing thousands to a few shifty investors, Moore is faced with mothballing his movie or trying to promote it himself, traveling the country with the only print available, hoping to rent out a few inner-city theaters to make some of his money back. Moore catches a break when the movie draws big crowds and a film distribution company takes notice.

Dolemite is my Name is a surprising comedy treat with an incredible performance from Eddie Murphy, who embodies the true “American Dream” with a flair for innocence and authenticity. I should qualify the “innocence” part of that statement with a warning about the language and nudity in the movie. If F-bombs and naked people are beyond the boundaries of your taste, Dolemite is my Name might not be your cup of tea. If you look beyond those rough edges, you’ll see a movie with heart and soul along with a story about friendship, independence, and perseverance in the face of failure. If you have any affinity for economics or business management, Dolemite is my Name might be the perfect blueprint for a) recognizing an untapped portion of the market, b) marketing your skills to cater to that market, and c) having the drive and work ethic needed to achieve success.      

The movie also recognizes Moore’s influence on the hip-hop scene, with his rhymes and bragging tales serving as one of the foundations for what would become rap music. Snoop Dogg (who appears in the film as a DJ) has credited Moore as an inspiration to his craft.


"Dolemite is my Name" Trailer