‘Dolittle’: Film Review

  • Variety
‘Dolittle’: Film Review
It’s been more than half a century since Rex Harrison spoke (and sang!) to animals as author Hugh Lofting’s eloquent veterinarian, and just over two decades since Eddie Murphy gave his own goofy modern portrayal. That’s enough time for Dr. Dolittle to fade from kid audiences’ collective consciousness, and just the right amount for Lofting’s first two books to enter the public domain, which explains why a new studio — Universal, where the two earlier incarnations hailed from Fox — has opted to revive the character yet again, this time enlisting the intensely charismatic actor Robert Downey Jr. to play the title role.

Trouble is, this latest “Dolittle” is downright sloppy. Director Stephen Gaghan’s period-set overhaul of the literary classic proves to be as predictable as it is obnoxious. In its defense, the film evokes an arm’s-length connection with its cute CG creature coterie and delivers heartening messages about psychological trauma,
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