One of the things I do before I watch films in the theater is take a look at what other critics think of the movie. I do this because I want to know up front if there are some perceived problems with the movie so I know what I should keep my eyes open for. Every reviewer I saw for Dolittle gave it some of the lowest marks of the year. They complained about the CGI animal looking pretty fake; they complained about how bored they were; and they complained that the movie’s price tag of 175 million was an absurdity. I don’t disagree with these statements; I just don’t think it was as bad as the Grudge. The other factor that I think is tempering my review was the audience reaction, the kids in the audience loved it. So, I didn’t think it was that bad of a movie. It is not a good movie either, just an average run of the mill January movie.
Dolittle is about a physician (Robert Downey Jr.) who can talk to animals. His wife died at sea several years ago and he has been a recluse ever since. One of the Queen of England’s servants come to fetch him to help heal the Queen from a mysterious illness. Will Dolittle be able to heal the Queen in time?
It is less exciting than it sounds. The writing team of Stephen Gaghan and Dan Gregor give us a pretty ho-hum plot. For an adventure movie, it doesn’t feel too adventurous, even though there is a dragon in the movie, and that takes a lot of work to be this lackluster. Stephen and Dan put the movie through a pretty bland story that we have seen done in hundreds of other kids’ movies and done better in other movies I will add. I think the only reason that this movie works and works well for kids is the CGI (Computer Generated Images) animals. The animals are funny, and they help give the story a little more interest. It was fun trying to guess which stars voiced each of the different animals. Granted when you spend more time trying to figure out the voices than watching the movie you can probably tell it is not a masterpiece.
Speaking of the voice actors, they all did a good job. Nothing exceptional but just fine. This was the first movie that Robert Downey Jr. was in since his role as Iron man. He does a fine job, nothing extraordinary. I was annoyed with his accent or his ability to not have a constant one. That doesn’t ruin the movie by any stretch but just points back to the fact that this nothing particularly special about this movie.
Overall, I would give this movie a C (An Average Movie). For a January movie, I didn’t think this was as bad as I have seen many other critics rate this movie. In the theater I was in, there were a lot of kids present and they seemed to love the movie, especially all the fart jokes. The plot is nothing to write home about but for a kid’s movie I think it held their attention just fine. I was surprised that this would be Robert Downey Jr. first big role after Iron Man. He does a serviceable job but he does need to pick an accent and stick with it. If you want a movie the kids will probably enjoy and you will not completely hate while watching it, then I would recommend Dolittle. Otherwise I would just probably wait until it is out on Netflix.
Dolittle is rated PG for some action, rude humor and brief language. This mediocre movie was directed by Stephen Gaghan. The average but dull screenplay was written by Stephen Gaghan and Dan Gregor. Dolitte stars Robert Downey Jr., Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen.