I can’t think of the last time I had so much of a purely enjoyable cinematic experience as seeing Dolemite is my Name with a huge crowd. There won’t be a funnier movie released this year. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be seeing it in a theater because it is not even playing in many theaters here in Los Angeles. It’s in just one theater.
It’s funny that people say why certain films should be seen on the big screen because of they are Cinematic. I would argue that the only film I’ve seen this year that MUST be seen in a theater is Dolemite. Why, because it’s a movie about movies and a movie about movie audiences – and that makes it, ultimately, a movie about shared experiences AT the movies. There is nothing better for the soul than sitting in the dark, in a room full of people laughing their asses off. Go, if you can, to see it with a lot of people.
Anyway – what a drag. I’m sure it will be just as good at home, on TV, but it is built for a big audience, that’s all I know. Oh well, for now we’ll just pretend you’ll have a chance to see it on the big screen SOMEDAY.
Here’s David Edelstein writing for Vulture:
Everything clicks in the comedy Dolemite Is My Name — it’s almost alarming how easily, breezily, larkishly the film goes down. Eddie Murphy plays the comedian and singer Rudy Ray Moore, who arrested a mid-career fade-out in the 1960s by developing an alter ego called “Dolemite,” a pimp, libertine, and fabulist with roots in black American folklore. The movie, directed by Craig Brewer from a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, connects Moore’s obscurity in early scenes to the passing of an era. The old-style vaudeville houses have closed and are decaying along with the cities surrounding them. What turns people on now are outlaws. Heroes aren’t just hustlers but resplendent hustlers, colorfully flouting the old, accommodationist ways. If the system is crooked, they’ll be crookeder — joyously, filthily, libidinously so. So, Dolemite is commercial dynamite.
And here is Stephanie Zacharek for TIME:
Dolemite Is My Name, starring Eddie Murphy as real-life comedian, proto-rapper and Blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore, is one of the great movies about entrepreneurship, a story about making something happen even when everyone tells you it’s impossible. More specifically, it’s a story of black entrepreneurship, about ownership and creativity blossoming even in a society determined to hold certain people back. The title itself, declarative and definitive, is a shout of confidence. Dolemite Is My Name leaves you wanting to go out and make something—a poem, a painting, a piece of music—even just for yourself, to leave your mark on the world.
And she closes her review this way:
Dolemite Is My Name is a splendid entertainment, but it’s wrapped around a very serious idea. How does anything of worth—a book or a business, a piece of music or a movie—ever get made? Writer, director and actor Robert Townsend financed his sharp 1987 satire Hollywood Shuffle largely using his own credit cards. Ava DuVernay was a film publicist and maker of documentary and microbudget films before she was tapped to direct Selma. Rudy Rae Moore put everything on the line to make a movie that might never have seen the light of day. But Dolemite lives. You can watch it today, laughing at its brazen, ultra-fake violence, at Moore’s shaky amateur karate kicks, at the almost quaint obviousness of its gratuitous female nudity—it’s a given that its sexual politics are outmoded. But Dolemite’s “Hey, guys, let’s make a movie!” spirit should never go out of fashion. Dolemite Is My Name and Eddie Murphy’s performance in it are a celebration of that powerhouse vibe. Now go out and make something.
In the film, much is made of how you either got the joke of Dolemite or you didn’t (mostly black audiences did, white audiences didn’t) and with this film, I figure, you either get why it’s a big deal or you don’t. These two critics definitely got it.