RDJ’s “Dolittle” Does Little

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Bradley Hare, Centurion Staff

Should have stayed with the Avengers, Iron Man.
Ever since Robert Downey Jr. ended his role as Iron Man in “The Avengers” after a 10-year long streak, many fans were
wondering what was up next for the world-renowned actor.
However, judging by the split reactions on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say that there are mixed opinions about him going off on his own. After watching his first solo outing in “Dolittle,” I am already missing his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The story stars Dr. Dolittle, played by the aforementioned Downey Jr., as one of the most well-loved doctors of England, being rewarded for his services by the Queen of England by being given his own manor.
He is most well-known for his love for animals, being able to talk to them and heal them. He is kept company in his manor by his wife and the animals they rescued.
However, one day, his wife dies out at sea, and he slinks into a slump, rejecting all visitors and only letting his animal friends stay with him. After hearing that the Queen has fallen ill, he goes out to find a mysterious fruit to save her.
The plot is as barebones as it comes, with it employing all the clichés you would expect in family films nowadays. This runs the gambit of stuffing the film with boring quips at the cost of emotional connection, unfunny characters that hinder the film, and a surprising amount of
bathroom humor.
To be fair, this is not Downey Jr.’s fault, far from it. He is perhaps the only person actually putting any real effort in this train wreck. He’s eccentric enough to be interesting but still down to Earth enough to be relatable.
That said, it does take a while for his angst and not wanting to do anything that involves human interaction to move from
annoying to tolerable.
The real culprits behind this film’s childish edge seems to be from Universal Studios themselves, discarding any possible maturity and replacing it with childish jokes, including a pivotal scene near the end of the film that could work if the delivery was smarter.
As for the other characters, you could trim half of the cast and the story would go on without losing anything. There is one child character, Stubbins, who visits Dolittle at the start of the film to try and get him to fix a squirrel he accidentally shot, before trying to become Dolittle’s student. I felt like this was just made to appeal to the children demographic, as he really doesn’t have much of a role in the story.
As for the story itself, you could tell everything that’s going to
happen by the end of the intro. You would think that a movie
advertising the fact that Dolittle can talk to animals would have more to do with the animals themselves, but they really seem like a throwaway idea.
The story seems more focused on tired story ideas, assigning the few animals that do follow
Dolittle in his quest one note personalities and calling it a day.
In the end, I’m just disappointed about this film in general. The movie was just way too juvenile to be effective emotionally, a lot of the cast was filled with cookie cutter clones of previously seen clichés, and it was just predictable through and through. This was not what the doctor ordered, and a second opinion, or in this case, second rewrite, is in order.
Overall Score: 2/10