Top positive review
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A repeat prescription of gut-wrenching anthropomorphism!
on 24 November 2001
Highly suspicious of any story relying on the idea of a hapless animal cast forced into the guise of human beings, I'd made it very public that I would not be going to see Dr Dolittle. However, after a TV trailer caught me unaware one night, rendering me as helpless and gasping for air as a three year old sobbing with laughter, we took off to the cinema for the full, uplifting, ridiculous experience.
Starting where the Dr Dolittle 1 left off (but you don't need to have seen the first film to enjoy this one) the story is that of a jaded show bear forced out of his comfy showbiz life to save the future of an endangered variation of his own species - he's the only one left, and the other's a female: cue, one sparkling, silly tableau after another as the bear swaps limos and 5-star treatment for chest-beating and mud. Parallel to this is a bubbling tale of adolescent strife in the Dolittle household, a move to the country, stitched together with the thread of a crackling script, hair-curling jokes and the inevitable animal-human common denominator of the digestive system - or more specifically, its waste disposal system!
With digital tools and animatronics currently at breathtaking levels of technical skill, I had hardly expected the animals in this film to be anything less than impressive. However, I hadn't counted on such an expert and seamless blending of real creatures, sensitive voice-overs and pixels. Oh, and the humans weren't bad too - Eddie Murphy proving why there was so much fuss about him to begin with, supported by a family delivering just the right amount of 'ham'.
So suspend your disbelief for an hour or two, forget what your last birthday told you - hey, you're five again, right? - and laugh like a drain at this clever, careful, joyous, ridiculous story told with a tongue planted firmly in cheek.
Who knows - I might even get Beatrix Potter off that dusty shelf ...