"If you're looking for a healthy dose of nonsense, Dr Dolittle
is a good choice. An unadulterated popcorn no-brainer, it's a
crazy premise that is executed with plenty of charm and comedic
twists. If John Dolittle is surprised to rediscover his hidden
talents of talking to the animals, the animals are equally
surprised that they can understand him.
The script is clever and the witty lines just keep on coming.
('If dogs can't talk... what do you think barking is? An
involuntary spasm?'; Pigeon - 'The way he looks at a robin's
breast is disgusting...') Plus there's the star turn by the
irrepressible Eddie Murphy, and the animals are simply
delightful. You know what they say - never work with animals or
children. Murphy works with both here and still comes out the
star! Stuart Little Meets What Women Want. Dr Dolittle is funny,
stupid and very entertaining.
We meet talking dogs, cats, sheep, ducks, a goat, a pig
('obviously not a kosher establishment'), an owl, guinea pig,
horse, a French monkey with a drinking problem and a tiger with
suicidal tendencies. There's a throw-away line by Lucky the dog
impersonating Austin Powers, and seeing a black and white clip
from the old television favourite Mr Ed with sidekick Wilbur is a
nice touch. Murphy is in fine form and much of the magic comes
from the fact that we actually believe the dialogue that is going
on between Dr Dolittle and the animals. Of course, the reality
is that Murphy obviously spent most of the movie talking to
himself - and he does it superbly. It's Murphy's film and it's a
genuine audience pleaser.
The soundtrack is upbeat and San Francisco looks great through
the lens of Russell Boyd's camera. There are no features except
for the theatrical trailer and a handful of subtitled options;
the film is the entertainment, which can be enjoyed in sharp
image quality and crisp digital sound.
I watched the DVD with my two Burmese felines; both Mephisto and
Napoleon were mesmerized - or so they said!
May 3, 2001