Dolemite Is My Name

From IMDB: “Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.”

What I liked:

  • Having grown up on Eddie Murphy, it’s so good to see him back in something mainstream. He seemed really comfortable in the role.
  • The supporting cast is really good, and help ground the story.
  • The “Do It Yourself” ideology is front and center here, which is inspiring.
  • It’s good to see Wesley Snipes again, and in a comedy too! (People tend to forget that Wesley wasn’t always in action movies. He was also in comedies like Major League and White Men Can’t Jump, To Wong Foo and dramas like Jungle Fever and Mo’ Better Blues (with those last two being directed by Spike Lee).
  • I like Tituss Burgess a lot from his work in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, so I was happy to see him here too.
  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph‘s casting is inspired.

What I didn’t like:

  • I got so used to seeing Eddie Murphy in the edited tv versions of his movies, that any time he cusses (or uses the n-word), it’s a little shocking.
  • The movie really doesn’t show the main character struggling. Yes, he has an issue here and there, but they’re glossed over. This is typical of biopics, with movies like Bohemian Rhapsody and Walk the Line being prime examples of taking a “safe” approach to telling someone’s story.
  • Speaking of safe, the cinematography was weak. You have a movie set in the ’70s about the making of one of the most iconic films within the Blaxploitation genre with a star and creator whose form of speaking inspired so many rappers, and you don’t add some tint? No film scratches? Why does it have basic camera coverage? This looks like something made directly for Comedy Central in 2010. They should’ve hired the cinematographer of Black Dynamite to also shoot this movie because THAT movie looks like it was made in the 70s, even though it was made in 2009. I bet you’re asking yourself “Who cares?”. I DO. Visuals set the tone. That’s why so many horror movies are dark and family movies are bright!

Overall: A “just ok” movie. I wish we could’ve seen him struggle more, because that leads to a more emotional payoff. Characters need to truly struggle in order to have a happy ending. I wish it would’ve looked better too.

Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on Twitter and Instagram, and is also currently writing his first short novel.

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