ABC Film Challenge – 90’s Movies – D – Doctor Dolittle (1998) Movie Review

Director: Betty Thomas

Writer: Nat Mauldin, Larry Levin (Screenplay) Hugh Lofting (Story)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Ossie Davis, Oliver Platt, Peter Boyle, Richard Schiff, Kristen Wilson, Jeffrey Tambor

Plot: A doctor discovers that he can communicate with animals.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Doctor Dolittle starts when Doctor John Dolittle (Murphy) is preparing for his biggest business deal with his doctors surgery with this partners, Dr Weller (Platt) and Dr Reiss (Schiff). With the deal pulling him away from his family, Lisa (Wilson), Charissa (Symone) and Maya (Pratt), John gets involved in a car accident avoiding a dog.

This accident will change his life, leading to John learning or remembering he can communicate with animals, leading to him getting caught up in helping the animals in need, with him being the only one that can help solve their problems, while maintain his is not going insane.

Thoughts on Doctor Dolittle

Characters & Performances – Dr John Dolittle is a well-respect doctor who is seeing his practise looking to bought out with his partners, he has the picture perfect family, with everything together in life. When he is involved in an accident, he starts to be able to communicate with animals, helping them out medically, while trying to prove to everyone that he isn’t losing his mind. Eddie Murphy is great in this role, he handles to comedy with ease through the film, while bringing a more sensible side to everything he is going through. Dr Weller and Dr Reiss are the partners that are preparing for the takeover, Weller is all about the money, while Reiss is more cautions about losing the personal approach to treating people. Both Oliver Platt and Richard Schiff both make us believe the two characters care about two different things. We get to meet the family that fill in the stable side of John’s life. The animals add a lot to the film with Lucky the dog being the friend that John needs, with many of the others getting laughs along the way.

StoryThe story here follows a successful doctor that finds his stable life turned on itself head when he starts being able to communicate with animals, putting a takeover, his family and the life he knows at risk for doing the right thing. This is of course the remake, that brings Eddie Murphy into the central characters, bringing his comedy to the story, which is mostly reactional to each different animal that visits him. The idea that we are seeing him battle with himself to prove he isn’t losing his mind works very well for the story, giving us plenty of comedy along the way, showing us the risk reward for doing the right things.

ThemesDoctor Dolittle is a family comedy that will get laughs along the way from the different reactions that Murphy brings to meeting each animal and will give us a big heart with how John connects more with his daughter for the first time in a long time. We get the san Francisco backdrop, which will give us the hectic life that John is current living too.


Doctor Dolittle is a fun family comedy that will get laughs along the way with a story with a nice heart.

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