June 2001
Dr. Dolittle 2

by Wilson Morales (New York)

Dr. Dolittle 2

Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Steve Carr
Screenwriter: Larry Levin, based on the stories by Hugh Lofting
Running Time:  82 minutes
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Kristin Wilson, Raven-Symone. Kyla Pratt, Kevin Pollack, the voices of Steve Zahn, Lisa Kudrow and Norm Macdonald

Sequels are never easy to direct. They are set up to become franchises for some studios. After the financial success of the first film, so much pressure is put on to double the box office gross. Unfortunately, the negative aspect of sequels is that the plot becomes formulaic and predictable, and the writing is not at the same level as the predecessor. When Dr. Dolittle, a remake of the original, came out in 1998, Eddie Murphy was hilarious as the M.D. who suddenly discovers he can hear and talk with animals. Having him talk with dogs, cats and parrots was a sight to see. It was the beginning of his comedic comeback, after a few missteps such as Metro and Holy Man. In this sequel, the comedic flair is mediocre as kids would love this but the adults may find their patience wearing thin.

There’s not much to the story as Eddie (Dr. Dolittle) and the gang (family and animals) have returned to the screen with a lame storyline. Several animals have come to the house of Dr. Dolittle to seek his help in saving a forest that a lumber company plans to chop down. Mr. Potter (Jeffrey Jones) and his lawyer (Kevin Pollack) will do anything to get their way. On the heels of convincing his 16 year old daughter Charisse (Raven-Symone) that they will be going to Europe, he now must get her to go along with the family to the forest. She decides to go but not before she invited her new boyfriend (Lil Zane). While in the forest, Dr. Dolittle tries to convince a city bear (voiced by Steve Zahn) to lives in the forest because the animal is an endangered species and it will help their cause.

The good thing about this film is that it is meant for kids of all ages. Kids love to see dogs, cats, parrots and bear act silly especially when they can’t comprehend what’s going on. Michael Rapaport is funny as the raccoon sent to get the doctor as he were a mob. It’s no easy feat getting animals to do the tricks you see on screen.

The negative aspect of this film is that the script is filled with nothing for adults to laugh at. Although both films are targeted at kids, the level of humor in the first film was for all ages. Eddie was more funnier when he was exploring his newfound power. He seems too stoic and bland dealing with the situation. Kids will also appreciate seeing a father bond with a daughter. Raven-Symone did a good job as the elder daughter competing with the animals to get her father’s attention. Bringing kids to see this film will be a treat for them, as the level of humor is better suited for them. In 1998, Eddie had two hits with the first Dolittle and “Mulan”. So far, he has a major hit with “Shrek”, another kid oriented that’s also good for adults as well. He may have another hit with this film, but the jury is still out.

Do you want to discuss this article with other community members? Have any comments on black film?  Then go to our Community section -- http://www.blackfilm.com/community/



(May: Main Page * Features * Reviews * Gallery ) Current Issue * Archive