Craig Brewer‘s Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix) feels like an odd duck. To me “Dolemite” is the mispelled name of a northern Italy mountain range (Dolomite) that I visited in May of ’92 for a N.Y. Times interview with Sylvester Stallone. (He was shooting Cliffhanger in and around Cortina d’Ampezzo, and I’d wrangled a freelance assignment.) But if you know who standup comedian Rudy Ray Moore was, Dolemite was an alter ego personality he created in the mid ’70s as well as a 1975 blaxploitation movie by the same name.
In Brewer’s film Moore is played by 58-year-old Eddie Murphy, and the idea, obviously, is to deliver a kind of 21st Century blaxploitation satire about a big-ego guy trying to crash the ’70s blaxploitation racket.
It looks “funny” after a fashion, but with the age factor, the moderate weight gain, the moustache and ’70s hair, Murphy doesn’t look like Murphy any more. I recognize Wesley Snipes, of course, but Murphy looks like his own older brother.
I loved Brewer’s Hustle and Flow (’05) and I’m a longtime fan of screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, but what am I supposed to do with this? A lot of characters in this thing are kinda doughy-looking. (And I’m borrowing that term from the film itself.)
I didn’t feel this way at all about Hustle and Flow. I couldn’t wait to revel in that film. The first Sundance screening was electric.
The funniest line in the trailer is when Murphy and Mike Epps are watching Billy Wilder‘s The Front Page, ands Epps says, “This ain’t funny”…true! “And here ain’t no brothers in it either.”
Apologies for the postage-stamp size of the trailer. That awful Brightcove coding…I hate those guys.