In the height of recreated movies and sequels, it comes as no surprise that beloved Dr. Dolittle once again graced the big screen.
In this adaptation, Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) was turned hermit by the loss of his wife Lily, and is shown holed up in his mansion with only his exotic group of animal friends to keep him company.
The arrival of Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett), and Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) forces Dolittle to emerge from his home to save the dying queen of England. Dolittle is then thrust into a thrilling adventure where he must journey to a mythical island to recover the fruit capable of saving the Queen’s life.
Despite the high stakes of this adventure I do not believe that director Stephen Gaghan meant for this movie to be a serious film. Perhaps it is difficult for people to see Downey playing a silly character after his last film appearance in “Avengers: Endgame.”
I will admit I was not a fan of Dolittle’s accent in the film, but I felt Downey did a great job portraying the humor and peculiarity of this character. With Downey dressed like the Mad Hatter, and all of the shenanigans of the animals, this film appeals to the inner child in us all.
Downey is not the only shining star present in this film. Despite the film’s criticisms it possesses a star powered cast: Antonio Banderas (King Rassouli), John Cena (Yoshi), Selena Gomez (Betsy), Tom Holland (Jip), Kumail Nanjiani (Plimpton), Michael Sheen (Dr. Mudfly), Emma Thompson (Poly), Rami Malek (Chee-Chee) and Octavia Spencer (Dab-Dab).
Of course this film checks off all the boxes for a family film with its cheesy villain, damsel in distress, and it’s array of fun animal characters. But despite its message about family the fast paced film lacks some key moments that would have increased ratings.
Audience members are deprived of an epic face-off with the enemy in favor of a quick resolution, Stubbins’ family is shown at the beginning disapproving of Stubbins’ inability to hunt, but Stubbins never gets a chance to confront his family about this.
The film did wrap up nicely in the epilogue with Dolittle reopening his house to the world with Stubbins as his apprentice, but it felt very rushed and I think that lost the movie some points with audience members.
The plot had great potential, but I believe it was wasted in favor of a simple story. Overall. I enjoyed the film, but it is not one that will stand out to me in comparison to other films of 2020.