Dr. Dolittle is the modern retelling of the doctor who could talk to the animals. A primarily black remake in the same vein as Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor. Much like The Nutty Professor (1996), Dr. Dolittle (1998) is the version I prefer since it’s the one I grew up with. It may be crude with gross out humor like most of Murphy’s later work, but it’s still a slightly better cinematic interpretation. With the interesting choice of Betty Thomas as director. I wouldn’t exactly call it a childhood favorite, but I have seen it multiple times.
Dr. Dolittle more interestingly makes John Dolittle’s ability to talk to animals something he was born with. Until he’s forced to suppress it later in life. In keeping with the modern setting, Dolittle is a respected medical doctor with a wife and 2 daughters. Raven-Symoné notably plays his older daughter Charisse and a very young Kyla Pratt plays his odder youngest daughter Maya. Dolittle’s abilities resurface when he hits a lucky dog named Lucky. With the unmistakable voice of Norm Macdonald. Then Chris Rock’s voice starts coming out of Maya’s guinea pig Rodney and soon Dolittle starts hearing all sorts of celebrity voices coming out of all kinds of animals.
Primarily domestic since this is much more small scale in comparison to the original. Most of the best, surprisingly PG-13 jokes come from random animals. There’s a drunk monkey, heckling rats, bickering pigeons, and even a horse that needs glasses (one of a few nods to the 1967 version). The main conflict is people questioning Dolittle’s sanity and his urgent need to treat a sick circus tiger. Dr. Dolittle ends up being pretty sincere in its message of being different as long as you’re willing to accept its crudity.
Followed by: Dr. Dolittle 2