For his first role since his Iron Man days in the MCU, Robert Downey Jr. stars as the beloved and eccentric animal whisperer from Hugh Lofting’s novels. And talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous…
Stephen Gaghan, the writer of Traffic and the director of Syriana, has delivered what will be recognized as one of 2020’s most eye-gougingly poor films, a dud whose climactic punchline after a punishing one hour 40 minutes is a prolonged flatulence gag. No joke. Dolittle is a charmless and slapdash mess of a children’s adventure film, visibly reshot and reworked in post-production with cringingly incoherent results. As for RDJ, I’m not sure what accent he’s attempting (an unholy Scottish-Welsh-Jamaican hybrid), or why he thought that this was the best way to spend his time. As one of the world’s highest paid actors who has a box-office draw like few others, surely more alluring offers were available… The rest of the starry cast include Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jessie Buckley, and voice performances from Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Thompson, Marion Cotillard and Octavia Spencer, who all should really know better and are hopefully laughing all the way to the bank with a decent paycheck, to compensate for the deafening lack of laughter there’ll be in screening rooms.
For the sake of the children and all Lofting fans out there, you’d do well to avoid this like the plague.
Dolittle | Directed by Stephen Gaghan (US, 2020), with Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek, Antonio Banderas. Starts Jan 30.
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