Dolemite Is My Name

Critics Consensus

In dramatizing Rudy Ray Moore's stranger-than-fiction story, Eddie Murphy makes Dolemite Is My Name just as bold, brash, and ultimately hard to resist as its subject.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 227

91%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 113

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Movie Info

Performer Rudy Ray Moore develops an outrageous character named Dolemite, who becomes an underground sensation and star of a kung-fu, anti-establisment film that could make or break Moore.

Cast & Crew

Eddie Murphy
Rudy Ray Moore
Wesley Snipes
D'Urville Martin
London Worthy
L.A. pedestrian
Chris Rock
Daddy Fatts
Mike Epps
Jimmy Lynch
Scott Alexander
Screenwriter
John Fox
Producer
Michael Beugg
Executive Producer
Charisse M. Hewitt
Executive Producer
Eric Steelberg
Cinematographer
Billy Fox
Film Editor
Scott Bomar
Original Music
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News & Interviews for Dolemite Is My Name

Critic Reviews for Dolemite Is My Name

All Critics (227) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (220) | Rotten (7)

  • Craig Brewer's film similarly romanticises the dream factory that is cinema. So, it is not just a loving tribute to a counterculture-inspired genre but also to the dreamers whose determination and desire far outweighed their skills and knowledge.

    July 24, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Certainly the blue-chip cast that has shown up to support Murphy in the buoyant-but-superficial Netflix biopic Dolemite Is My Name is its own tribute to Moore's intersectional significance...

    December 19, 2019 | Full Review…

    Chris Klimek

    NPR
    Top Critic
  • It's well worth leaving the house for.

    December 19, 2019 | Full Review…
  • This riotous, poignant and uplifting true story couldn't have been told half as well without the singular magnetism and intensity of Eddie Murphy at its heart.

    December 4, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Murphy brings the spirit of Blaxploitation underdog Rudy Ray Moore to life, with tell-it-like-it-is radiance. His timing is, as always, cobra-strike precise...

    November 26, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Moore was always bigger-than-life and that's how Murphy plays him. It's a strong performance of a character worthy of biopic treatment. Dolemite lives!

    October 27, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dolemite Is My Name

  • Dec 30, 2019
    RUDY CAN'T FAIL - My Review of DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (4 1/2 Stars) Every now and then, a movie energizes me in unexpected ways. When I first saw Animal House, I immediately wanted to start a food fight in the cafeteria. Aliens excited me so much, it remains the only film where I turned around and saw the very next showing. Now, along comes Dolemite Is My Name, from director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) and writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood) and it makes me wanna drive around the country with a bullhorn shouting at everyone to drop everything and watch this hilarious, engaging heartwarming, fantastic, true story of a film. Eddie Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, a down on his luck 1970 Los Angeles entertainer. When we first meet him, he's trying to get some of his musical recordings past a DJ (a funny Snoop Dogg) at the record store where they work. We see in this scene how Rudy handles rejection. He's confident and unflappable, which makes you instantly fall in love with him. "A man slams a door in my face," he says, "So I just find another door." How could you not want to follow a character like this wherever he goes? As his Aunt (a perfect Luenell) hears about his comedy aspirations, she lists out his other talents, which includes singing and…wait for it…shake dancing. Murphy finds the never-say-die energy of this man to make you believe he could do pretty well on the non-existent shake dancing circuit. At night, he tries to win over an audience with hack jokes, but he soon realizes he lacks a clear voice. Like any good writer, he looks around for inspiration and finds it with a group of homeless men in his neighborhood. One man in particular, Ricco (Ron Cephas Jones) spins vulgar tales with such elegance, it sounds like early rap. Rudy turns this into his alter ego, Dolemite, a cane wielding, suave pimp, who electrifies the usually docile crowd at the club. Soon thereafter, Rudy gets a comedy record deal and takes his act on the road. Although a regional success, Rudy has an epiphany in a movie theater one night and realizes he could reach a larger audience and not have to tour as much if he were to make a film. The rest of the story gloriously shows us the process of making his first movie, Dolemite, and creating a sensation as a blaxploitation star. Rudy's can do spirit may not have made him as big of a name as Ron O'Neal or Pam Grier, but many have mentioned his character as an inspiration in the rap and hip hop world. The man left a fantastic legacy. Much like Ed Wood, the film serves as a beautifully specific look at fringe filmmakers struggling to get their movies made. Murphy clearly knows Rudy's world and invests his character with unforgettable detail and power. It may play to Murphy's comedic style, but his more serious moments never feel melodramatic. He stays true to Rudy's undying will. While Murphy delivers a galvanizing performance and deserves every award, he heads an extremely strong cast. Keegan-Michael Key plays Jerry, a playwright Rudy ropes in to write Dolemite. Jerry wants to write important plays and haughtily resists the lowdown quality Rudy requires, and it's a joy to watch Jerry come around to embrace the bad acting, the karate chops, the terrible gun play and the insane slapstick. Tituss Burgess (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Mike Epps, and Craig Robinson contribute fun performances as Rudy's support staff, with Tituss playing a more subtle type of gay man than his signature Titus Andromedon. It works and with Murphy's past issues with gay material, it's delightful to see him thriving opposite Tituss for such a large chunk of the film. Fun fact: Kodi Smit-McPhee plays real life UCLA Film Student and Dolemite cinematographer, Nick von Sternberg, son of the legendary director, Josef von Sternberg. His entrance into the film, wherein novice filmmakers meet even more novice filmmakers, makes for one of the many gems this movie has in store for viewers. We haven't even talked about the shaking bed scene, the outrageous car chase, or the iconic moment the gang put on their finest to meet with the suits and strut towards camera in slow motion. Wesley Snipes makes a fantastic return to movies with his scene stealing role as D'Urville Martin, a pretentious, semi-successful actor Rudy hires to direct Dolemite. When the production runs off the rails, D'Urville's reactions could serve as a roadmap to a perfect character arc. Just watching him call "Action" alone has provided me with endless, gleeful replays. Welcome back, Wesley! Forget action films. Comedy needs you! Everyone, however, needs to move over and acknowledge Da'Vine Joy Randolph's Lady Reed. Rudy meets this defiant, larger than life firecracker on the road and immediately hones in on a life of pain which would make for a great comedienne. Their double act is hysterical, but as she joins the cast of his film, she transforms into a gorgeously generous woman whose gratitude for being put on screen made for the first of many times I outright bawled. Brewer does an excellent job of keeping this juggernaut moving along at a crisp pace, and he nails the period details. Alexander and Karaszewski's writing gives us characters not only to root for, but to yearn for and wish them happiness. It may not be the deepest film, but it moved me. They walk a fine line between laughing at the cinematic ineptitude on hand and finding true value in how it made the black community feel. Behind the laughter, people felt empowered. People felt strong. People felt they had a film genre of their own. In the final scene of the film, they lay it all out there and damned if I wasn't sobbing. I felt that rare energy I always want from a movie. So of course, I immediately texted a friend with, "Watched Dolemite Is My Name. Holy Christ is it good!"
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • Dec 16, 2019
    Eddie Murphy is back! At least I hope he is. Murphy picks the perfect story to re-open his raw and remarkable storytelling and acting skills after going through a long period of films unsuitable for his talents (or anyone else's for that matter... those were terrible movies). The film has everything going for it including a super performance by Da'Vine Joy Randolph who deserves more movie roles as she conveys all the talent to make you laugh and touch your soul. Major props, too, to the writing team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszweski.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2019
    Eddie Murphy was known as one of the greatest comedic personalities of all time by many, and is still remembered for being that great, but it's safe to say that his career took quite the nosedive in terms of the projects he was attaching himself to. I would argue that his last truly committed performance was in 2006's Dreamgirls, even though I enjoyed him in Tower Heist as well. Now, with a stand-up special on the way, Coming to America 2 and Beverly Hills Cop 4 in the works, he seems to be on his way back into the spotlight if those movies turn out great. We're not here to discuss his career though. Dolemite is My Name is one of the latest feature films to hit Netflix and Murphy is the shining star here in what may just be his best performance in decades. Following the tropes of many biopics, Dolemite is My Name follows Rude Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) as his stand-up comedy/rap routines are winning audiences over. With a very niche audience that follows his work, people never believed his personality could translate well to the big screen. Determined to show his character Dolemite to the world, he sets out to fund his feature film on his own. With ups and downs throughout his career, this true story lends itself to a very formulaic movie as a whole. Thankfully, the care put into making this a great watch is very much present, leaving the issue of feeling like a retread by the wayside. Eddie Murphy delivers one of the best performances I've ever seen him give and the supporting cast in performers like Craig Robinson, Keegan-Michael Key, and even Snoop Dogg are all giving it their all. This movie needed to have a very specific type of feel in order to work and a lot of that weight was on the cast. Personally, I don't think a better cast of performers could've been put together for this particular story. From a bizarre drama like Black Snake Moan to the remake of Footloose (which I happen to prefer over the original), I've always enjoyed watching one of director Craig Brewer's films, who was also at the helm here. The way this film is visually presented, along with the great performances from everyone involved, it really seems like his best work yet as a director. I'm very excited that he is the one who will be taking on the role as director for the upcoming sequel to Coming to America. In the end, Dolemite is My Name has quite a bit of energy to it and the screenplay is very quippy, which made the run time not feel like the full two hours that it is. If you're a fan of Eddie Murphy, then I can't see why you won't be glued to the screen as I was. This character was pretty much made for him to play. I'm glad to see him making a comeback and having it work so well. This is a very, very good, funny, and engaging biopic that I feel a lot of people will get a kick out of. Come Oscar season, you may also hear some buzz about how good Eddie Murphy truly is here. This was a great watch.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Oct 19, 2019
    I'm a sucker for behind-the-scenes movies on scrappy genre indies, following a band of creatives come together, build camaraderie, and serve as the underdogs we root for as they put on their fun show, so Dolemite is My Name is right up my alley. It's a biopic on Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy), who by the 1970s rebranded himself in his 40s when he began performing as an outrageous, rhyming pimp character named Dolemite. He recorded crude comedy albums, sold them out of the back of his trunk, and reached a new level of fame, but he sought a blaxploitation movie to get him to even further heights. This movie is akin to The Disaster Artist where we watch a lot of artists pull off a bad movie with little money, as well as 2004's Baadasssss!, where Mario Van Peebles recreating the making of his father's 1971 blaxploitation hit, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Chances are, if you enjoyed either of those two movies, or the hilarious blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite, you will be smiling aplenty with this new Netflix movie (given a short theatrical run and soon to be widely available via streaming). The movie belongs to Murphy, who hasn't had a part in three years, and he comes roaring to life as Moore, a man who won't let anything stand in the way of his dreams. Murphy is fully captivating in every scene as he turns the Dolemite persona on and off, sharing moments of personal insight and fear, like when he's nervous over his physique with an upcoming sex scene for his movie. He's a determined hustler and it's hard not to fall for his grinning charm. The Dolemite movie has a special appeal because it was intended as a comedy, so the shoestring, scrappy nature of it works nicely with the good intentions of simply making a big, silly, kung-fu-filled action comedy with what audiences want. I'll confess I never found any of Moore's standup to be funny as the audiences at the time. However, the filmmakers have already answered this, as Moore and pals go see The Front Page, a movie dubbed by critics as a laugh-out-loud comedy, and the men sit stone-faced and confused throughout the pithy, erudite comedy that seems to be amusing the largely white, WASP-y crowd. Humor is subjective, but not only that it's the kind of entertainment with the shortest shelf life. It's naturally going to expire quickly. Comedy routines we found hilarious decades ago might not still be funny today, and that's okay. Dolemite came out at the right time and influenced other artists and filmmakers. A behind-the-scenes film is destined to be a movie with a definite ceiling. Moore is an interesting success story but there's only so much to be gleaned from this underdog tale. Thanks to writers Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander (Ed Wood, The People vs. O.J. Simpson) and the energy of Murphy, Dolemite is My Name is a fun two hours with a bunch of cut-ups. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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