“Dolomite is my name and f*cking up motherf*ckers is my game,” was the common phrase comedic legend Rudy Ray Moore gave himself in his hit films in the 1970s. The comedian portrayed Dolemite, the pimp who battled criminals and engaged in various outlandish humorous situations. His work appealed largely to Black audiences across America and he became a huge icon within the Black community.
Another comedic icon, Eddie Murphy, portrays Moore in Craig Brewer’s film “Dolomite Is My Name,” a biopic on Moore’s struggles in the film industry from stand up comic and singer to full on comedy movie star.
Brewer struggles as a filmmaker in helping audiences follow a clear narrative, as the film suffers from a lack of clear pace and direction. We see Moore’s career success arrive almost instantaneously. The story lacks any true conflict besides the various mishaps on the film set, a conflict we’ve already seen in several films about Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Never once do we get to feel the struggle Moore is going through as a character. The entire film is carried by slight variations of the same jokes and humor for its entire duration, the humor eventually turning annoying instead of fresh.
Eddie Murphy's performance is his first in quite a while, with many viewing this as a comeback role for the veteran comedian. While Murphy injects his classic energy that made him so likable in the first place, he over-acts at times and doesn’t connect with audiences, failing to create a comedic character that seems authentic. His humor is nothing we haven’t seen and the actor isn’t using enough of his own style to make the character funny. His performance is a very underwhelming attempt at a comeback.
“Dolomite Is My Name” is a regurgitated attempt at making a film about someone in the entertainment industry who defied the odds stacked against them and created success despite the chaotic process of getting there. Not one scene has enough humor to make us laugh out loud nor is the narrative interesting enough to keep us invested in the success of the characters despite the comedy. The film is too repetitive in its humor and fails to captivate any image of a true struggle in Hollywood.
Studios are still married to making films about how movies are made, yet far too many including “Dolomite Is My Name” fall into a hole of blandness and emptiness.
Final Grade: D+
Dominic LeRose is a staff writer for The Daily Cardinal. To read more of his work, click here.