Beav’s review published on Letterboxd:
My knowledge of blaxploitation cinema is pretty limited, so while I had heard of Dolemite, I knew nothing about the making of the film, or the wider story of Rudy Ray Moore and his wonderfully vulgar comedy stylings.
Not that it mattered, Dolemite Is My Name is hands down one of the most muthafuckin' enjoyable films I've seen all year. A beautifully crafted story of Moore's rise to fame, overflowing with a deep love for cinema, for a group of weirdos and dreamers wanting to create something entirely their own and share it with the world.
I am a sucker for a feel-good story, of down on their luck people shooting for the moon, and I damn near burst with tears towards the climax, there's such a warmth and care put into each of these colourful characters and you can't help but fall in love with them all. The cast sell it all, its stacked with great performances like a soulful Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Rudy's protoge and partner in music Lady Reed, guys like Keegan-Michael Key and Tituss Burgess adding in humour, a scene-stealing turn from Wesley Snipes as famous blaxploitation star D'Urville Martin, but this is Eddie Murphy's film and boy is it joyous to have him back on form.
At times it's hard to see him as anyone other than Eddie Murphy, always a minor issue with someone that famous and possessing an ungodly level of natural charisma, but it never harms the film or stops it feeling anything but genuine and heartfelt. The movies have missed Murphy, and I hope he gets to show off his talent in quality roles like this again, because someone this good shouldn't have the Shrek films be what a generation of moviegoers mostly remember him for.
Dolemite Is My Name is a triumph, and in a fairer world would be cleaning up come awards season, but I'll settle for just having this touching, hysterical little film available whenever I need a filthy big smile putting on my face.