Dolemite Is My Name ★★★★½

Quickie Review 
Once a year, you get a handful of Netflix original films that are definitely worth the hype. This year is no exception as we had Always Be My Maybe being a surprise hit with viewers while The Irishman and Marriage Story is garnering tons of buzz this awards season. Now, we have a Netflix original film where the hype is truly justified and watching the final product is a truly satisfying experience. From Craig Brewer, director of Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan and Footloose (2011), from the writers of Ed Wood and co-creators of “American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson” and from the producer of Predator, Dr. Dolittle and Chronicle comes the wild true story of how one of the most celebrated and influential cult classics was brought to the screen. Eddie Murphy turns in the best performance of his career as Rudy Ray Moore, the comedian, singer, dancer and record store employee who finds success on the standup circuit as Dolemite, a rapping, rhyming, cussing character with some wild stories. After finding success on stage and on vinyl with a pair of party records, Rudy decides that he wants to bring Dolemite to the big screen so he, his friends Jimmy Lynch (Mike Epps), Ben Taylor (Craig Robinson), T. Toney (Tituss Burgess) & Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) get together to make a major motion picture featuring Dolemite, along with community theater director Jerry Jones (Keegan Michael-Key) writing the script with Rudy while blaxploitation actor Dur’ville Martin (a funny Wesley Snipes) directs despite his disdain for the film and only doing it to get the director’s credit. Rudy will face and overcome many obstacles to get the movie made and what happens next will change his and everyone’s lives for the better. While The Disaster Artist, a similar film, strived to be to this decade what Tim Burton’s Ed Wood was to the ‘90’s, Dolemite Is My Name is definitely the true heir apparent to Ed Wood, which is fitting since Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski wrote that film as well as this film. At first, I thought it was confusing that they combined the making of Dolemite and The Human Tornado together to tell the story of the making of the first Dolemite movie but then it was understandable because it was a fictionalized account, taking liberties with the real story and that was fine because it made the movie more entertaining to watch. Let me just say that Eddie Murphy may say that he doesn’t consider this a comeback but after movies like Norbit, Meet Dave, Imagine That, A Thousand Words and Mr. Church, this is a comeback performance in the truest sense. The Eddie Murphy we know, love and admire is back and he’s never been this good in a very long time and he turns in a performance as one of the very people who got him into comedy in the first place, making this performance full circle. Without Rudy Ray Moore or Dolemite, the Eddie we know wouldn’t exist. Meanwhile, he’s supported by a stellar supporting cast with Wesley Snipes delivering his best comedic performance since either White Men Can’t Jump or To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar and Da’Vine Joy Randolph turning in a breakout screen performance, ultimately being the heart of the film. Also, be on the lookout for Chris Rock & Bob Odenkirk in special guest appearances. Both very hilarious and aspiring, Dolemite Is My Name is the prime example of a Netflix original living up to the hype and anticipation, complete with a comeback performance by a comedy legend to boot. Put yo’ weight on it and head to Netflix to check it out right now! Remember, no one under 17 not permitted to view without a parent or a written note from your jailer!

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