Dolittle

2020

Dolittle

Critics Consensus

Dolittle may be enough to entertain very young viewers, but they deserve better than this rote adaptation's jumbled story and stale humor.

16%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 164

76%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 6,743
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Movie Info

After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria's England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures. The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Dunkirk's Harry Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla (Oscar (R) winner Rami Malek), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck (Oscar (R) winner Octavia Spencer), a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich (The Big Sick's Kumail Nanjiani) and an upbeat polar bear (John Cena, Bumblebee) and a headstrong parrot (Oscar (R) winner Emma Thompson), who serves as Dolittle's most trusted advisor and confidante.

Cast

Robert Downey Jr.
as Dr. John Dolittle
Antonio Banderas
as King Rassouli
Michael Sheen
as Dr. Blair Müdfly
Harry Collett
as Tommy Stubbins
Rami Malek
as Chee-Chee
John Cena
as Yoshi
Jim Broadbent
as Lord Thomas Badgley
Jessie Buckley
as Queen Victoria
Kasia Smutniak
as Lily Dolittle
Carmel Laniado
as Lady Rose
Jason Mantzoukas
as James the Dragonfly
Ralph Ineson
as Arnall Stubbins
Joanna Page
as Bethan Stubbins
Sonny Ashbourne Serkis
as Arnall Stubbins Jr.
Oliver Chris
as Sir Gareth
Clive Francis
as Archbishop
View All

News & Interviews for Dolittle

Critic Reviews for Dolittle

All Critics (164) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (137)

Audience Reviews for Dolittle

  • Jan 20, 2020
    Here's the revelation of the new year: I didn't hate Dolittle. In fact, I kind of admire it and mostly enjoyed it. Given the advertising, bad buzz, and mountain of critical pans, I was expecting very little from this movie, so perhaps it chiefly benefited from dramatically lowered expectations, but I feel comfortable going on the record in the Dolittle fan club. Robert Downey Jr. stars as the magical vet and adventurer who can speak with animals, and for the first 15 minutes or so, I was laughing at this movie and shaking my head. There's a moment where Dolittle, a gorilla that just showed its backside while playing chess, and a duck are laughing uproariously in their own languages, and the moment holds awkwardly and it was so weird. After 15 minutes, I began to adjust to the movie's wavelength and I began to appreciate how committed to being weird the movie was. This is not exactly a movie that aims for a safe broad mass appeal, even though it has familiar messages of family, acceptance of loss, and confronting personal fears. It takes chances on alienating humor. You could take any incident from this movie, including its finale that literally involves disimpacting a dragon's clogged bowels, and on paper, without context, it would be the dumbest thing you could imagine. However, when thrown into a movie that never takes itself seriously, that is actively, almost defiantly being weird (a joke about a whale flipping off humans with its fin made me cackle), the things you might mock take on a new charm. Director/co-writer Stephen Gaghan has worked in Hollywood for years and given the world Traffic and Syriana, so he knows his way around working within a studio system. Dolittle at times feels like a live-action Aardman movie with its anarchic spirit. Downey Jr. (Avengers: Endgame) bumbles and mumbles in a thick Welsh accent that he may regret but he's fully committed. Michael Sheen (Good Omens) is a delight as a seafaring antagonist, and he knows exactly what kind of movie he's part of. The animal CGI can be a little dodgy at times for a movie this expensive and not every jokey aside works but enough of them did to win me over. I'm under no illusions that a majority of people will just scoff at Dolittle and never give it a chance, and I thought I was ready to join their ranks, but then a funny thing happened when I sat down to watch the movie and accepted it on its own silly terms. I had fun, and I know there will be others that do as well. It may be a disaster to many but to me it's a beautiful mess. Nate's Grade: C+
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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