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Dolemite Is My Name: Of alterego, art, and profanity

  • Published at 03:41 pm November 1st, 2019
Dolemite is my name
Eddie Murphy in a scene of Dolemite is My Name | IMDb

 Eddie Murphy’s versatile acting skills - cursing with crafts, terrific dialogue delivery, and last but not least, his brave expressions are to the point with the vibe of this film, which can be described as "unrelenting, undisputed, and undoubted"

Oscar nominated actor Eddie Murphy returns with a stunning performance in Craig Brewers R-rated biopic-comedy Dolemite Is My Name (2019). Based on myriad minded American artist Rudy Ray Moore’s pioneering career, from stand-up comedian, singer, dancer, to full-time actor and film-maker, and his 1975 Blaxploitation film Dolemite, this Netflix motion picture is fueled with good music, great performances, and godly optimism for chasing dreams, and fulfilling desires. 

Rudy Ray Moore is seeing the sunset of his career - holding on to the albums he had made during his prime. Now nobody wants to play them, neither on stage or on the radio. But he is a man of persistence - what his friends call “The King of Comeback” - he maneuvered a way to revitalize profane comedy from street junkies to the more polished audience with a touch of his own charisma. He succeeded big time in what we may recognize as "going viral." Obscene album art, vulgar words, and raw expressions synchronized with his terrific rhyming capacity, he made a fortune for himself out of his sheer will to get famous. He literally “lives the life he loves, and loves the life he lives." Soon, he realizes what he requires to get past his neighborhood fan base, if he ever wants his deserved position, which in his own words: “I want the world to know I exist.” 

Planning to make films with the residue of his signature blend of profanity and entertainment, he takes an odyssey into making a film about himself. He created an alter ego named Dolemite - a fictional foulmouthed thug who hustles around. In doing so, the audience is treated with Eddie Murphy’s versatile acting skills - cursing with crafts, terrific dialogue delivery, and last but not least, his brave expressions are to the point with the vibe of this film, which can be described as "unrelenting, undisputed, and undoubted." The 12 letter word for which Samuel L Jackson is widely acknowledged, and craved for, Eddie Murphy might be the new resurrected chosen one of the art of cursing with craft.

As it is a biography based comedy (some scenes were a direct tribute to the original Dolemite film), we cannot question the plot, but surely we may ponder over the execution. Out and out it is an overwhelmingly optimistic adventure, to the point that the audience may easily predict the triumph of the protagonist from the beginning. What it lacks is a real challenge, a critical drawback that would prove “The King of Comeback” Dolemite’s quest a bit more tangible, not an otherworldly fiction. Otherwise, the costume, set design, dialogues, and music are the real deal in this film. If the raw and crude dialogues hold you back, these are the elements that will surely hook you in no time.

The film was premiered at Toronto Film Festival in September this year, followed by a limited release in October. Netflix now streams this entertaining piece on their platform for adults who are desperately looking for something really "artsy" and vulgar, as well as inherently beautiful and rude. Such a combination is rare, if not impossible these days.


Abdur Rehman is a film activist who runs the popular film enthusiast Facebook group called Film Punk. He is a masters student of English Literature at Jahangirnagar University

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