With Robert Downey Jr.’s time as Tony Stark in the MCU finally at an end (Probably... okay, maybe), the actor can finally lend his star power to fare outside of the superhero genre. And before the actor potentially returns to Baker Street for Sherlock Holmes 3, he’s taking on another classic character who has had multiple cinematic adaptations in this weekend’s Dolittle.
Unlike the modern interpretation of the character seen in the Eddie Murphy films, director Stephen Gaghan’s Dolittle returns the character to his literary roots in Victorian England. The film follows Robert Downey Jr.’s Dr. John Dolittle, a doctor, veterinarian and widower, as he sets forth on an adventure to find a cure for the ailing Queen Victoria, played by the amazing Jessie Buckley. On his quest, Dr. Dolittle is joined by a cadre of animals voiced by a star-studded cast of actors. So, how is it?
The first reviews for Dolittle are now up, and despite the star-studded cast and the sheen of impressive visual effects, the film doesn't quite live up to what you would hope for from it. CinemaBlend's own Dirk Libbey gave Dolittle 2.5 out of 5 stars in his review, writing:
So Dirk didn't hate Dolittle, but it sounds like he was pretty bummed that a concept that could have been grand, given the modern technology and talent involved, turned out to fall well short of any perceived potential. This sentiment was echoed by The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy. He said in his review:
The script may have been lacking to begin with, but judging by many of the reviews, it might have been chucked out the window entirely with Dolittle really coming together in the edit bay. In his review, Screen Crush's Matt Singer called the film:
With a short runtime and what is apparently some rather choppy editing, it seems that Dolittle doesn't make a ton of sense at certain points. The belief that Dolittle is the result of some serious tinkering appears to be prevalent among critics. As evidence of this, many critics are pointing to Robert Downey Jr.'s dialogue as Doctor Dolittle. The Ringer's Rob Harvilla highlighted it in his review, saying:
I think many audience members would be excited to check out Dolittle just to see Robert Downey Jr.'s performance, and sadly, it seems that that performance is not what you might have hoped for. The actor apparently affects a strange and difficult to understand accent. On top of that, many critics suspect that the majority of his dialogue in the film was done in ADR. I've also seen Johnny Depp/Captain Jack Sparrow comparisons made, and not in a good way.
Another thing prevalent in the reviews so far is just how juvenile the comedy is in Dolittle. Variety's Courtney Howard wrote:
While Dolittle sports a PG rating, indicating that it could be fun for the whole family, based on the early reviews, it is only the very little ones who will be laughing, while older viewers will have to simply get through it all. Although, Dolittle being for kids also may depend on your parenting style, as Birth.Movies.Death.'s Michael Gingold highlights in his review hilariously titled "Robert's Downer For Juniors":
And lastly, we have the Chicago Sun Times' Richard Roeper, who gave the film one star out of four and wrote:
As you can see, there's not a lot of positivity coming Dolittle's way, and the film currently sits at 17% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 35 reviews. On the bright side, it seems that this weekend's Bad Boys For Life is actually good! But if you have little ones that are too young for that, Dolittle may offer a breezy and entertaining (for them) time at the movies.
Dolittle opens on January 17. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what other movies you can look forward to this year.
Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.