Dolemite Is My Name ★★★½

Pretty good film. It's by the numbers in terms of a script setup with all the predictable elements. But DOLEMITE IS MY NAME doesn't mess anything up.

As a film it's a lot like the DISASTER ARTIST from a couple of years ago. Hard to pick a fave between the two. They both lovingly cover their respective subjects through hardships and trials, but also ultimately the success in making a sketchy first film.

Eddie Murphy is a perfect choice to play Rudy Ray Moore. Not only can he handle the swagger and onstage comedian scenes naturally, but his own career runs a curious parallel. Like Rudy Ray Moore, after finding success in the world of R-rated humor, Murphy also seems to have sought validation and credibility via DOLEMITE. And like DREAMGIRLS several years ago, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME reminds audiences of Murphy's talent and potential as an actor. In addition to the loud, obnoxious comedy, Murphy also stands out in a number of smaller tender personal scenes--ones of lonely personal hardship and ones where he props up the spirits around him (not with jokes and foolishness, but with supportive and understanding words). Murphy can be the real deal. Murphy's confidence as an comedic actor and improv artist lends itself well to drama.

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME also mercifully avoids the biopic traps of giving us too much of Moore's life. Brewer focuses compactly on the part of Moore's career where he finds some success in terms of first money, and then broad acceptance.

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