Anthony's Film Review

Dr. Dolittle (1998)

Eddie Murphy's effort to deliver a lively remake unfortunately left me bored...

Hollywood has several bad habits that show a lack of creativity on their part. One of them is the tendency to remake old TV shows and movies. The filmmakers often don't get it right. Sometimes they do. For example, the remake of The Nutty Professor starring Eddie Murphy worked quite well in my opinion. But remakes are not the issue I have right now. Rather, it's another bad Hollywood habit: the tendency to repeat a successful formula thinking it'll easily work a second time.

That's what happened with the remake of Dr. Dolittle starring Eddie Murphy. Because he did a good job with The Nutty Professor, it's no surprise that his next film would do the same thing: remake an old film that keeps the bare story but adds an original touch. In fact, I had expectations that Dr. Dolittle would be as entertaining as The Nutty Professor for the same reason. Well, I was wrong. I remember waiting half an hour for something good to happen only to wait even longer than that.

There is an early scene where John Dolittle as a boy discovers his ability to hear animals talk. He proceeds to smell a man's rear end, copying what dogs sometimes do with each other. Obviously, this is supposed to be funny. I can tell right now that it wasn't funny at all. I didn't even smile. Then there's another scene where Dr. Dolittle is a patient at a mental hospital (for obvious reasons). He is telling the animals, "Stop talking to me!" Again, another forgettable scene. It's neither funny nor dramatic enough to make one care about the character.

Besides having Eddie Murphy in the title role, the movie has another kind of attempt to be amusing. There is a cast of voice actors for the various animals, including some big names. For me, the only one I cared about, though somewhat, was Chris Rock as a hamster named Rodney. He's only mildly funny, though. There's a scene where this little animal is singing "Get Down Tonight." It was interesting to hear the first time, but that was enough. Later, there's a joke with Rodney and a toilet. It wasn't a gross-out scene, but it was barely funny.

When the movie was over, I was relieved. In the last several seconds before the credits rolled, I was almost ready to fall asleep. That's how boring the movie was all the way through. So my rating for the 1998 remake of Dr. Dolittle is low. It's not because it has content that shouldn't be there, like gross-out humor. It simply is very underwhelming in all the stuff that is there: the story, the characters, and the humor. I hope this movie can teach a good lesson about filmmaking. Never assume a successful film formula to be foolproof without effort.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Dr. Dolittle, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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