Film Review: Dolemite is my Name
PUBLISHED: 13:12 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:12 19 November 2019
It has been, one could argue, over a decade since Eddie Murphy has appeared in a film worthy of his considerable talents.
Thankfully, this is very much not the case with Craig Brewer's Dolemite is my Name as the star, director and subject matter appear to be a near perfect meld.
Based on true events, the film charts performer Rudy Ray Moore's (Murphy) rise to fame in the 1970s with his obscene and iconic blaxploitation character, Dolemite.
Familiarity with Moore, his kung-fu fighting alter-ego or the period hardly matters as Brewer and his talented team so beautifully re-create 1970s Los Angeles that you can practically smell the smoke filling the club at which Moore moonlights during the film's early scenes.
It's a wonderfully rich and detailed environment in which to spend time, especially when Moore and his fiercely loyal, though rather inexperienced team start to make the first Dolemite film.
So infectious is the director and his subject's determination, ambition and enthusiasm that it's almost impossible not to smile and cheer along Moore as he overcomes budgetary constraints and creaky sets to complete his feature.
As the central character Murphy is magnificent, radiating more likeability and charisma than he has in some time.
Wesley Snipes too, delivers a wonderfully flamboyant, pompous turn as perpetually exasperated actor-director D'Urville Martin.
It's far from perfect - the film is prone to languor and the snide asides don't always land - but these are easy flaws to forgive in such a bold and enjoyable biopic.