Dr. Dolittle 2

For the second year in a row, Eddie Murphy is releasing a sequel to a remake of a classic movie. Nobody really asked for the remake or the sequel. All four movies were not that great, yet three made tons of money, and presumably Dr. Dolittle 2 will do the same. Murphy's sense of humor has also quickly reached the bottom of the toilet, and judging by many of the jokes in this movie it has not moved from its newfound position. At times it feels like there was not enough movie for a sequel; Dr. Dolittle 2 comes in at a rapid 81 minutes and still feels overly long.

Dr. Dolittle (Murphy, The Nutty Professor II, Shrek) is back, doing the same thing he did before. His is a famous celebrity and his children, especially older daughter Charisse (Raven Symone. Doctor Dolittle, The Little Rascals) resent his fame. Charisse is entering the pesky age of puberty. She ignores her father, has a boyfriend he disapproves of, and wants him to spend more time with his family. Dolittle is ready to take his family on a trip to Europe when some animals summon him to the forest. It seems that a lumber company is going to raze their homes unless he can do something. Dolittle discovers that a Pacific Western Bear lives in the forest. Ava (Lisa Kudrow, Lucky Numbers, Hanging Up) belongs to an endangered species, and if Dolittle can find a mate for her and the two have children, he can save the forest. He finds a male Pacific Western bear in Archie (Steve Zahn, Saving Silverman, Hamlet), a circus bear reared in captivity. Archie is somewhat of a primadonna, and has no idea how to survive in the wild, so it is up to Dolittle to teach him how.

Sadly, all of the talking animals upstage Murphy. Director Steve Carr (Next Friday) and writer Larry Levin (Doctor Dolittle) just do not give him enough to do. Murphy and all the members of his family are impatient, exhausted, and probably in need of some group therapy. Zahn has the best lines, although his antics soon become tiring. Carr also parades out a slew of guest voices for small roles, including Frankie Muniz, Cedric the Entertainer, Mandy Moore, Michael Rappaport, Andy Dick, and many others. Carr and Levin know that jokes like this quickly become unfunny, so instead of prolonging one gag, they move quickly from one animal to the next. So drunenk monkeys, a forest mafia led by a beaver, and a chameleon that cannot change colors are able to retain the small amount of humor milked from their situations.

What is not convincing is the entire story revolving around Archie and the logging company. Carr needlessly prolongs it to make the movie longer. Kevin Pollack (3,000 Miles to Graceland, The Wedding Planner) and Jeffrey Jones (Heartbreakers, Company Man) never make convincing villains because they have nothing to do. Kristen Wilson (Dungeons & Dragons, The Photographer) again plays Dolittle's wife, and does nothing in this movie. Kudrow plays up her nonchalance so much that she herself is boring. And again, there is the ubiquitous potty humor. Oddly enough, the script tones down so that the references are relatively tame compared to what's out there now. Sad, but true.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 21 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language and crude humor.

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