Doolittle is a reboot of the classic 1967 film Doctor Dolittle as well as the most recent Eddie Murphy comedy version which was set in the modern day. This film is mainly inspired by the second Doctor Dolittle book ‘ The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle’ and stars Robert Downey Jr. as the titular character. This means it throws back to the Victorian era, and focuses more on being an adventure film with comedic elements, than just a straight up comedy. The problem is that the film is pretty terrible. The comedy just doesn’t land throughout, except for maybe the younger audience members. I think even older kids will have aged out of the general tone of the film, whilst younger viewers might find the more somber sequences incredibly boring.
I know watching as an adult I certainly wasn’t entertained. Neither the formulaic adventure story, nor the uninspired characters, mainly the animals who accompany Dolittle, did much grab me. What was particularly disappointing though was Downey Jr’s performance. Since Iron Man and Zodiac in the late 2000s he has continually delivered excellent performances, and I was excited to see his first performance since leaving the MCU, but it was a really strange performance from him. I also have no idea what was going on with his accent, I think it was meant to be a stab at Welsh, but it was never really clear what he was doing there.
I can’t really recommend this new version of Dolittle to anyone. I’m not sure who the target audience really is for this, and there are things that seem off putting to both younger and older kids.