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Dr. Dolittle (1998)



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After disliking the crudeness of the 1996 Eddie Murphy version of The Nutty Professor, I was all set to despise his remake of Dr. Dolittle just as much, particularly since I hold the original series of books, written by Hugh Lofting, in such high regard.

I still don't particularly care for the movie. It has stupid scatological humor to an extreme, has a dumb subplot about a sick tiger and a cliched subplot about a man becoming estranged to his family by the unusual circumstances he finds himself in. In spite of all that dead weight, the movie has some genuine laughs, and Murphy's flamboyant personality carries the movie through the rough spots.

One annoying element, which also turned out to be its saving grace, is that the story has absolutely nothing to do with Hugh Lofting's character or even, for that matter, the 1967 Rex Harrison version of Doctor Dolittle. Had this version bore any passing resemblance to the books, it would have been downright intellectual vandalism. As it is, the two characters share only the name, and it is unfortunate that the movie could not have been named something else entirely.

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