By this point Snoop Dogg is Netflix’s biggest sub-category, more populous even than hitman comedies or cannabis cookery shows (obviously there is overlap). Between his movie cameos, album appearances and sock design, a Google Alert tracker for ‘Snoop Dogg’ would fill up your inbox quicker than ‘Labour antisemitism’. He doesn’t even bother announcing when he’s on his own records anymore.
Eddie Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, the comedian who became infamous in the ’70s for playing the pimp Dolemite in a series of blaxploitation flicks. This biopic by Ed Wood writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski follows Moore and his friends (including Keegan-Michael Key, Snoop Dogg and Mike Epps) from High(-Top) Fidelity-esque record store scenes to Ed Hood-style moviemaking montages, paying tribute to the man and independent filmmaking like the Tim Burton picture before it.
Albeit a familiar story, Dolemite Is My Name is told with palpable affection for its subject by director Craig Brewer, the production designers responsible for the colourful blaxploitation recreation, and the talented ensemble. Da’Vine Joy Randolph gives the film heart as Moore’s partner in crime, Wesley Snipes puts in a hilarious turn as the Dolemite director, and Murphy takes the title role with aplomb (even if he does sound like Donkey from Shrek trying to break into showbiz).
Of course no good blaxploitation homage would be complete without a good soundtrack, and Scott Bomar’s funky score is complemented by hits from Sly and the Family Stone and Marvin Gaye. A couple more genre flourishes would be welcome but as an unapologetic celebration of reinventing oneself, this movie is all jive and no turkey.