Subhash K Jha reviews the English film Dolittle, directed by Stephen Gaghan. Read it here.

Review of Dolittle: Does little for the classic original

Starring Robert Downey Jr, Harry Collette, Antonio Banderas

Directed by Stephen Gaghan

Rating: *(1 star)

Two thoughts struck me as I sat wide-eyed and open-mouthed (for all the wrong reasons) watching this monstrous misfire.

What is Robert Downey Jr doing in Dolittle? It does little for him after Ironman. What was I doing sitting through this trippy trip into tripe? Am I the masochistic type? Only those addicted to acute self-pain would bear the terrible computer graphics that make monkeys and giraffes talk in celebrity voices, and of course, they must be ruing the day they agreed to voice the dummy-graphics and Downey Jr’s weird accent which makes him sound like an Irishman gargling with marbles at the Scottish seaside.

To put it bluntly, Downey Jr is terrible as the fabled Dr Dolittle who has a special ability.

No, he can’t make a bad film into good. But he can converse with animals. But the animals look so unconvincing talking in various star voices (Rami Malik who immortalized himself as Freddy Mercury speaks for a gorilla, and that speaks for itself) I felt I was watching two films, one on the soundtrack where some really sturdy voice performances were played out, and the other on-screen where the computer-generated animals competed with human actors for this year’s Razzies.

The film is a disaster on every level. As the umpteenth rendering of a classic story, it does great disservice to those of us who grew up reading Hugh Lofting’s evergreen novel, and to the 1967 film where Rex Harrison played the title role.

This is the second film in a month with talking animals. Between Cats and Dolittle, we cover the entire dismaying gamut from the devil to the deep-blue sea.

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