Is “Dolittle” just what the doctor ordered?

Robert Downey Jr. and an all-star voice cast make for fun, family movie


Raider Times photo / Courtesy of Universal Studios

Robert Downey Jr. plays the title role in “Dolittle”.

Eden Salley, Raider Times staff

My friend and I sat down last weekend to watch Stephen Gaghan’s film adaptation of “Dolittle”. While the plot wasn’t very complex, much of the story’s lack of depth is made up for by dazzling cinematography, a well-known cast, and a fun, light quality that makes it a perfect family movie.

Robert Downey Jr., who plays the titular character, delivers an incredible performance, and the bond between him and his animal costars is strangely convincing. His role as a man initially cut off from society is believable, as per usual, and he is eccentric and exciting to watch. Some voices you might recognize throughout the film are those of Emma Thompson, Selena Gomez, John Cena, Craig Robinson, and Tom Holland, all as animals that work alongside the Doctor. Kumail Nanjiani provides comic relief as Plimpton the ostrich, with jokes sometimes poorly written but almost always earning laughs. 

The movie is pretty short with a runtime of just 106 minutes, but in that time each animal has his or her own personality built. 

The tone of the film is kept light, despite the few moments when they touch on Dolittle’s tragic backstory or when the characters are in a bind and you’re not sure if they’ll escape. Even with those moments, the film will hardly frighten most children because you know who the bad guy is the second that you see him.

Overall, the story isn’t that deep, but at least six layers of character conflicts or relationships are brought up again and again throughout the story to keep you interested enough. The plot lines were sometimes slightly confusing, but to children it will serve as an action-packed, comedy adventure film.

If you’re looking for a fun, family movie to take your younger siblings to, this one’s not half bad, with characters that you really care about just 30 minutes in and jokes for people of all ages.

If you need a dose of light, family adventure with talking animals, see “Dolittle” in theaters this Friday, Jan. 17.

–Jan. 16, 2020–