Directed by: Betty Thomas
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Ossie Davis, Oliver Platt
The demanding lives of working actresses can be hell sometimes, but 14-year-old Amanda Levesque (ACT's The Miracle Worker) and 15-year-old Lauren Ford (ACT's Diary of Anne Frank) have accepted their fame graciously. We caught up with the girls only hours before Lauren was to appear in an In The Park Shakespeare production, and before Amanda had to hop a jet for a hiatus in Connecticut, where she'll go whale-watching with her father. Both actresses, who are fans of Eddie Murphy and of animals in general, generously agreed to review Doctor Dolittle for us, before barreling off to their next engagements. And so, we proudly present -- drum roll, please -- Amanda and Lauren discovering that the doctor is, in fact, in:
The mostly hilarious Doctor Dolittle starts with John Dolittle (Murphy) as a little boy, discovering his ability to talk to animals. As time progresses, his father becomes concerned about this odd behavior and gets rid of the family pet, with whom John has been conversing. Cut to: current-day San Francisco, where we find Dolittle as a successful, conservative physician who has, by now, forgotten his whole childhood experience and is happily married, with two daughters. One day, when he's involved in a near-accident with a stray dog, his long-lost childhood gift returns, and he finds he can, once again, communicate with animals. Suddenly, hordes of creatures, big and small, start appearing at his doorstep for doctoring. Needless to say, the doctor becomes extremely overwhelmed and whacked-out. It is here that Doctor Dolittle really takes off, with the introduction of a punk guinea pig, a wise-mouthed mutt, wacky rats, a drunk monkey, a depressed tiger and a hyper tennis-ball-obsessed canine, plus a whole menagerie of other animals. You could tell that the screenwriter was having a lot of fun, although we found that the screenplay dragged a bit at first. But as time went on, and the talking animals were added to the equation, the momentum picked up. The special effects were amazing, as was Eddie Murphy, who was wise to accept a part in this delightful movie. Betty Thomas' direction was good, and although she milked the toilet humor for all it was worth, the result was actually quite entertaining. And so, despite the sometimes sappy, over-the-top moments, we still believe that this adorable flick is likely to become a family favorite.