Main cast: Eddie Murphy (Dr John Dolittle), Kristen Wilson (Lisa Dolittle), Raven-Symoné (Charisse Dolittle), Steve Zahn (Archie the Bear), and Lisa Kudrow (Ava the Bear)
Director: Steve Carr
Like most sequels, Dr Dolittle 2 manages to be inferior to the so-so movie that spawned it. This movie, I hear, cost 80 million US dollars to make, but the end result is something that could have come out from the Disney TV channel. Some heads, I gather, will probably roll come income tax declaration day.
This time around, Dr Dolittle, the rare human who can speak and understand all sorts of animal language, is set to tackle – what else? – evil polluters and forest clearers, aka the Corporation. He also has to train circus bear Archie to be a beary alpha macho bear so that she-bear Ava will consent to be Archie’s mate. There’s also a Mafia raccoon and a rap-hating chameleon in here somewhere. No wonder Mrs Dolittle, Lisa, looks lost most of the time.
The animals are cute, but since this is a “new millennium” kiddie movie, they have to make toilet jokes most of the time. Haw haw. Eddie Murphy is so placid, calm, and controlled that he is upstaged by the animals. Apparently the man has forgotten the age-old Hollywood adage – never work with animals or kids, even computer-generated animals. As it is, this time the whole save-the-environment message is tired and uninspired, the jokes have their moments but most of the time also tired and uninspired, the acting is lethargic and has the feel of “Hurry up – paycheck!” to it, and the animals look hammy, fake, and stiff at times.
And I do feel I am getting old. Remember the good old days of a foul-mouthed, primadonna Eddie Murphy? Now, he’s a sober poster boy for Disney-esque feel-good family movies, that is, if toilet gags are what passed off as “family movies” nowadays. What next? Tom Hanks and Eddie Murphy remaking Ben? The mind boggles.