Ben Rasmin - @benrasmin
REVIEW: DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (2019)
While it'd be a stretch to claim that Eddie Murphy's recent career mirrors that of Rudy Ray Moore's at the beginning of this fiercely entertaining biopic, there is undoubted synergies between the career paths of the two entertainers.
Moore was someone whose talent had fallen by the wayside in the competitive environs of 1970s Los Angeles, a nobody who is absolutely convinced that he can someday become a somebody. Murphy, as we all know, was one of comedy's greatest giants, a cultural behemoth whose star once shone brighter than any other but, in recent times, has dwindled.
These commonalities make for a dynamic pairing, as Murphy breathes life back into his career with arguably one of his greatest ever performances. Moore provides a fascinating character study for him to get his teeth into and what we get in return is a resounding return to form. As the freewheeling, quick-talking comic, Murphy is as good as he's been since the halcyon days of Coming to America and Trading Places. It's a delightful reminder of his talents at a time when mainstream comedy so often feels like painful paint-by-numbers experience.
Not only that, it's a great insight into the life of Moore and his more-than-a-little-unconventional body of work. The film, unlike so many other biopics, feels like a celebration of life and, just as brilliantly, is unashamedly steeped in black cultural. This makes for an enriching and very often hilarious viewing experience and quite possibly the sleeper hit of 2019.
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