1998; Rated PG-13; 85 Minutes
Eddie Murphy: Dr. John Dolittle
Ossie Davis: Archie Dolittle
Oliver Platt: Dr. Mark Weller
Richard Schiff: Dr. Gene Reiss
Kristen Wilson: Lisa Dolittle
Produced by Sue Baden-Powell,
John Davis, David T. Friendly, Steph Lady, Joseph Singer
and Jenno Topping; Directed by Betty Thomas; Screenwritten
by Hugh Lofting, Nat Mauldin and Larry Levin
by DAVID KEYES
its a good thing animals can't talk. For all we know, they'd
be more intelligent and wise than us humans; they could
become world leaders, political figures, Hollywood legends,
philosophers--all those things that human beings are. Heck,
they could even become the superior race; the way we see
it, if they had a human vocabulary, they'd have the intelligence
to dominate us. Anything is possible. At least with our
knowledge an experience, animals are intelligent regardless
of what generates from their mouth.
though, I doubt animals would talk like the ones in Betty
Thomas' "Doctor Dolittle." Here is a film that inappropriately
exercises bathroom humor to the point where you'd never
find it funny again. The movie provokes it as if the creators
believe that our animals have dirty things on their minds
when they are around us. And no wonder; Betty Thomas, the
director of the movie, also made the raunchy and useless
"Private Parts," not to mention one of the worst films ever
made, "The Brady Bunch Movie." I'm not sure if I have something
against her, but if I do, the evidence speaks for itself;
once you make three bad movies you can step right in line
to be the king bad movie director.
I digress. The film is, ironically, another remake in the
career of actor Eddie Murphy, who seems to be the only man
nowadays who likes to make them. Even people like Robin
Williams (a la "Flubber") have trouble convincing us that
they enjoy doing them, so it's kind of a strange coincidence
that a man like Murphy would try it again after the first
one was such a critical flop.
could plainly forget "The Nutty Professor," where Murphy
portrayed half of the film's roles? That movie was bad enough
to convince anyone that Murphy's career would be ruined
afterwards, but heroically, he stepped up to the plate again
with "Doctor Dolittle." It's too bad that, in this movie,
he's sort of like an "in-the-background" character, dwarfed
by all these talking animals. If he had been the absolute
center of attention, he'd probably have redeemed himself.
result, with the combination of that and the fact that the
animals are rude and look like their lips are being moved
by invisible fingers, is this awful mess of a film; a lame-joked,
repetitive, and downright stupid "animals say the darnest
things" movie. Animals that could talk would probably take
offense in it, and the people who actually think its funny
just might very well be addicted to "Beavis And Butthead."
movie needs more than just talking animals to support it;
don't you think that we should have some decent human characters
in a picture like this? Thanks to the rotten decisions obviously
inflicted on the script, all the big-names in the cast lists
are merely good actors who show up and let the animals do
the work. We do not pay attention to any of the human characters
whatsoever, unless, of course, you happen to see one of
the film's more popular scenes, namely the one involving
Murphy giving mouth-to-mouth to a veterinary patient. He
checks out a hamster, finds that he is not breathing, and
awkwardly attempts to administer CPR. That must be his punishment
for appearing in "Boomerang."
material is impossible to tolerate. If you make a movie
about animals who talk, do it because you want to make them
look intelligent, not dimwitted. Now that I think of it,
"Doctor Dolittle" has been made with these types of characteristics
probably because people laugh more at stupidity than intelligence.
There are limits to bathroom humor, though: you can only
turn on a battery so many times before it runs out of juice.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.