Dolittle - This Movie Does Little, Rocks Wise
Starring Robert Downey jr, Emma Thompson, Anptnio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jessie Buckley, Jim Broadbent, Harry Collett, Rami Malek, John Cena, Tom Holland, Octavia Spencer, Selena Gomez, Craig Robinson
In which RDJ leaves behind Tony Stark and goes Welsh for reasons best known to himself. And talks to animals rather than Hulks. Or even Chris Evans.
The long delayed and overly expensive Dolittle (reshoots were part of the latter) finally arrives as more of a damp squib, than a triumphant family film. It’s already had its more than fair share of bad press. But it’s not the disaster it’s been made out to be. It’s just somewhat uneven and ultimately rather underwhelming.
Perhaps some of the fault lies in (producer) Downey’s choice of Stephen Gaghan as director – the writer of Traffic and Syrianna not being an obvious choice to take on Hugh Lofting’s series of beloved children’s books. But they plough on unregardless – with RDJ opting for his Welsh accent and CGI taking hold of almost every scene, as the good Doctor sails away to try and find a cure for Queen Victoria’s assassination attempt.
Numerous celebs add their voices to the animals that surround him, to various effect – Emma Thompson – Yes. Craig Robinson – No!!
And Gaghan handles everything in a haphazard kind of way, lurching from one moment to the next, seemingly playing to his imagined audience of young folk with low attention spans.
There is some charm in Dolittle – mainly to be found in Downey’s trouper of a performance and some beautiful production design. But it feels like a muddle. Why? Because that what it is.