Review: Dolittle

Dolittle (2020)

Director: Stephen Gaghan

Writers: Stephen Gaghan, Dan Gregor, Doug Mand, Chris McKay, and Thomas Shepherd

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, and Marion Cotillard

Plot: Dr. Dolittle, who can speak to animals, must go on a quest to save the queen of England’s life.

Review: Oh man. This is bad. This is real bad. I would’ve walked out in the first ten minutes if I was just watching this for fun. Holy crap. I knew it wouldn’t be good, but I wasn’t expecting something on this level. This is like a Cats situation where absolutely everything is just going wrong. Nothing here works. And it feels like everything lasts forever. It’s like really, really bad.

The first thing I have to say is probably the part that hurts me the most. Robert Downey Jr is terrible in this movie. He’s just straight up bad. All of his charisma is somehow gone. He’s whispering his way through this performance. It’s not fun. It’s not entertaining. It’s just weird. I think he’s going for a Gene Wilder Willy Wonka thing, but it just doesn’t work. This is by far the worst I’ve seen him. To be fair, I haven’t watched that much of his pre-Iron Man stuff, but I’m used to a little bit of charisma with the guy. I was expecting that to be the one positive I knew I could take away from this and he let me down. Maybe it was his intention to play the exact opposite character to Tony Stark. I don’t know. If it was, I guess he succeeded, but that’s a very strange motive. Yeah. I don’t want to shit on the guy anymore. He’s a personal favorite, but I sure was disappointed here.

Secondly, the plot was weird as hell. The following things actually happen in this movie. The queen is poisoned. An octopus uses the phrase “snitches get stitches.” A bird trims up RDJ’s beard and hair. A whale flicks off Michael Sheen. A gorilla knees a tiger in the balls. And Robert Downey Jr pulls stuff out of a dragon’s butt until it farts in his face. And you’d think that maybe some of that makes more sense it context, but it really doesn’t. It’s one of the strangest plots, especially to a kids’ movie, I’ve ever seen.

Worst of all, though, has to be the fact that not a single joke lands in the entire movie. And, holy crap, are there a lot of jokes. It’s what makes the run time feel so long. There’s about a joke a minute. And not a single one works. It’s really painful. Like, there’s a scene where Tom Holland’s dog character is given the responsibility of watching over the queen. He seems super proud to be in this position. And… he scoots his butt along the carpet. That’s the joke. Because get it? He’s a dog. They do that. Hahaha. Wait. Why aren’t you laughing? Oh yeah. Because there’s zero humor in that moment. And that’s probably one of the funnier parts in the movie too! I mean… I can’t think of anything funnier. Except maybe the long dragon fart… if you’re into that sort of thing.

Like I said, this is a disaster on par with Cats. In both instances, absolutely nothing works to an astonishing degree. Unfortunately, I think I enjoyed the experience of Cats better. That was a fun train wreck to watch. It felt like an acid trip. Every bad decision was laughable and led to a fun time. In Dolittle, all of the same problems are there. But, it’s not fun to watch. The relatively short run time feels like an eternity. It’s like a train wreck where the train is full of people you love. It’s actually painful to watch.

TL;DR: It’s bad. Everything in it is bad.

Grade: 1/10 (Unbearable)

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