Reviewed by: Kyle Suggs
Who ever thought animals had so much to say?
Fresh off his success with “Mulan”, Eddie Murphy is at it again with this remake of the 1967 classic, “Doctor Dolittle”. Based on the literature of Hugh Lofting, Dr. Dolittle has the ability to communicate with animals.
As a 5 year old youth, John Dolittle (Dari Smith), demonstrated his uncanny ability with the family dog. After learning much from the loyal canine and after a lot of disbelief from his family and clergy, Dolittle becomes disheartened to his gift and suppresses all memories of it until his adulthood. As an adult, Dolittle (Murphy), is a very successful surgeon, husband and father of two. The main story centers around a merger of the hospital where he practices. Dolittle is essential for the success of the multi-million dollar deal. However, his powers miraculously reappear, putting a monkey wrench (pardon the pun) in everyone’s plans.
Dolittle’s youngest daughter, Maya (Kyla Pratt), is adorable as a young genius who wants to fit in. She tries desperately to get her father’s affection to no avail. After overhearing a conversation between her and his father (Ossie Davis), Dolittle reminds his daughter the importance of being and loving yourself. It is also from this experience that he finds this needs to hold true for himself as well. I would have told her to NOT be like herself, but to be like Christ. I guess that is why they do not let me write screenplays.
“Doctor Dolittle” is loaded with toilet humor, which some people will find offensive. The language in the movie, while not as bad as other Murphy movies, could have been cleaner. There are many, many “seat of your pants” references that get old quickly. In fact, most of the gags in this flick dim as the movie progresses.
Chris Rock is the voice of Rodney (the guinea pig) who, though at times is very funny, has some pretty crude and mean things to say. Norm Macdonald is the voice of Lucky (the cynical street mutt) who has some pretty humorous moments. Even though the humor is a bit on the crude side, I found myself laughing. Murphy does not carry this film. When the animals are off screen, so is the humor.
Make no mistake about it. The selling point of “Doctor Dolittle” is unmistakeably the animals (40 species in all). However, with the furry critter’s display of rudeness, vulgarity and arrogance, they almost seemed human and this alone may be just enough for some to stay away from this movie.