Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Kristen Wilson, Jeffrey Jones, Kevin Pollack, Lisa Kudrow
Director: Steve Carr
How do you re-educate a circus bear called Archie, that dances and sings, so that he can learn to survive in his natural habitat and return to the wild? That’s just one of the tasks Dr Dolittle (Eddie Murphy) is faced with in this sequel, which keeps you laughing the whole way through but tackles some major issues as well.
Dr Dolittle now a well known, firmly established doctor treating not only 4-legged patients but 2-legged as well, juggles his work with his family and family pets – Lucky, his faithful dog, a chameleon (a new addition to the family) and a monkey. Returning home from a busy day at the office to discover his teenage daughter Charisse (Raven – Symone) has persuaded her mum (Kristen Wilson) to allow her to celebrate her birthday with her boyfriend instead of the usual family birthday celebration, the ensuing confrontation results in Dr Dolittle deciding on impulse to a family holiday. This idea is quashed before it gets off the ground when not long afterwards he speaks to his animal friends and finds out from them that a building developer has started bulldozing an area of their forest.
Seeing the destruction for himself, Dr Dolittle involves his whole family, starting with his wife, who brings a case against the developer that the forest must be protected because a lone survivor of an endangered species of bear lives there. Further development is postponed for 4 weeks by the judge on the understanding that Dr Dolittle finds a mate for the sole surviving bear, Ava (voice of Lisa Kudrow).
Enter Archie (voice of Steve Zahn), a very talented circus bear of the same species, trained for dancing and singing! Dr Dolittle hits on the idea of taking his whole family with him into the forest while he attempts to re-educate Archie with the skills needed for him to not only woo Ava, but also to be able to survive himself in his natural habitat. Quite an enormous project but with a very tight deadline.
What follows is extremely entertaining. Ava is not terribly impressed with dancing and singing, and Archie can’t understand so many things. He always has to run everywhere – can’t bears saunter along slowly! He also has to be resuscitated by Dr Dolittle when learning the art of fishing – he forgot to come up for air!
An uphill battle between Dr Dolittle and his animal friends versus the developers ensues and the animals find their strength when they unite and show humans what they can achieve when they’re organised. Dr Dolittle also finds some common ground with his gifted daughter Charisse, in contrast to his long suffering wife!
DR DOLITTLE 2 is a very funny movie from start to finish with some twists at the end that keep the attention of both the adults and the children in the audience. Eddie Murphy is an excellent Dr Dolittle again and Raven – Symone plays his rebellious teenage daughter to a tee. There are some classic songs on the soundtrack including ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ by rock group Survivor and ‘I Will Survive’ by Diana Ross – skillfully inserted at just the right place in the movie.