Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Featuring:||Eddie Murphy, Kristen Wilson, Raven Symone, Kevin Pollak, Kyla Pratt|
|Producer:||John Davis, Joseph M. Singer|
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox|
I have a confession to make. I had predetermined not to like “Dr. Dolittle 2” for I honestly wrestle with the concept of Eddie Murphy as a role model for families and children. All too many were disappointed and disgusted with the likes of “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.”
This film does an average job of balancing cute and crude. Murphy once again reprises his role as the doctor who can talk to animals. This time he even includes a 12-step program for “strays”. As expected the plot is mildly obsessed with sex as we watch Dr. Dolittle fight for the “survival of the species.” This priority soon begins to interfere with his family life. Dr. Dolittle portrays how difficult it is to have a balanced home life. His wife (Kristen Wilson) demonstrates remarkable patience in the midst of all the chaos and in a home truly befitting the title of “a zoo”. But the demands soon take their greatest toll on Charisse (Raven-Symone) who has just turned 16 and is ready to date.
The doctor’s mission in “Dr. Dolittle 2” is to save a forest full of woodland creatures. A skunk invites Dolittle to have a meeting with “the beaver”, whose image as a “Godfather” trying to save his homeland from loggers was enjoyable and entertaining. The villains, attorney Jack Riley (Kevin Pollak) and greedy businessman Joseph Potter (Jeffery Jones), have logging plans which seem to be guaranteed until Dolittle tries to save a species of bears from extinction. Another attorney, the doc’s wife Mrs. Dolittle, gets involved in the case. Dr. Dolittle convinces the judge that he can successfully mate a Circus Bear with one in the wild.
There is some discussion of sex as an over obvious plot point. Most of the time the dialog is more in the arena of “flirting”, but sometimes it is mildly offensive. This is a Murphy-film, so there is plenty of flatulence, anatomical humor and jokes about digestion. Hollywood must be convinced that this is the only thing children will laugh at. All in all the bear theme is a heart-warming story of city-bear meets country-bear and the differences therein.
Murphy takes on the role of a “Rocky” type mentor and tries to get this bear into shape. Dolittle takes his family along on this adventure, planning to spend some quality time with them on the way. I liked the extra effort Dr. Dolittle put forth to give attention to his neglected wife and daughters.
My objections do include the frequent injection of profanities. But the over-all theme of “everyone needs a family” does steer the film. I would recommend the story behind this film. I still continue to express caution to the role models and some of the music in the film. Both can be suggestive and blur boundaries of judgment. Suggested viewing age would be 10 to adult. Yes, there is an obvious plot twist to suggest another Dolittle film. Why not? The first one grossed almost $300 million world wide.