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20th Century Fox
Official Site
Director: Steve Carr
Producer: John Davis, Joseph Singer, Michelle Imperato
Written by: Larry Levin; original material by Hugh Lofting
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Lisa Kudrow, Norm Macdonald, Steve Zahn

Rating: out of 5

I thought the first Dolittle movie was dumb. It was corny, hokey, and uninspired. So, naturally, when the second one came out, I assumed it was going to be a chip off its predecessor's block. Boy, it's good to be wrong.

This movie is as harmless as a puppy and just as adorable. The humor is clean, for the most part, and fresh. With comedic talent like Eddie Murphy, Cedric the Entertainer, and Steve Zahn, it's hard to go wrong. These actors rattle off jokes, many of which were probably improvised, at a constant pace. The dialogue is chock full of pop-culture and not-so-pop-culture references. The humor is aimed at youngsters but it's something the whole family could laugh at. There's nothing momentous about the themes or characters, but there's nothing bad either. Nothing. They whole movie is squeaky clean and efficient. It zips along bouncing from one plot point to another. Never pausing to fill the audience in on boring details or sappy dramatics. There's less drama in this movie than in a Marx Brothers picture.

The movie picks up years after the last one left off. Dolittle (Murphy) is now a successful doctor, veterinarian, and animal psychologist with too much to do and not enough time. When a local forest is to be cut down, Dolittle must train an endangered, domesticated bear to mate in the wild in order save his species and the forest. Dolittle retains his friends from the last outing including his dog and intoxicated monkey, but he also picks up some new ones, including a Mexican gecko and a mobster raccoon. The jokes are quick and all over the place. What really make them shine is how clean they are. For once, a comedy doesn't rely on poop humor, cursing, or even physical comedy. It's all character jokes and references. Sure, the characters are stereotypical but it's all in good fun. They never even pulled the race card.

The only thing lacking is depth. Humor is great and all, but when you go to a kids' movie you expect to see some morals and lessons. There's none of that here. This movie doesn't try to teach you anything. There are no role models or even heroes, just people being funny. And that's not all bad. It's just not all good. It's just... well... funny.

-Zack Schenkkan

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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