Judge Brett Cullum knows very few preteen doctors. He thinks the writers should have played that angle more.
Dolittle? More like do nothing!
Dr. Dolittle 3 doesn't have Eddie Murphy, is a straight to DVD sequel, and really doesn't add to the franchise. For some reason Maya Dolittle (Kyla Pratt, Fat Albert) has the gift to talk to the animals just like her father and older sister. Yet for some reason, neither of the other Dolittles that can talk to animals is here to help poor Maya as she comes of age around chatty dogs and pithy monkeys. She's having a hard time fitting in because everyone thinks she's freaky. So what does her mom do? Send her off to a cowboy camp in Colorado with a lot of animals, so a whole new batch of kids can think she's freakish. To make matters worse she ends up at one of those camps that has financial problems, and a sworn enemy in the snobbish ranch across the way. So can the young Dolittle go Meatballs on us, and save the day? You bet. But does she do it with animals? Well, not entirely. Instead she sings country hip hop, and comes to terms with the fact that she is actually cool. Okay, at the eleventh hour she does save the ranch by conversing with her barnyard pals about a rodeo they have to win to save the ranch. The animals all have voices, but the only one I recognized was Gary Busey (The Buddy Holly Story) playing a cantankerous stallion. I don't get why anyone would think talking to animals is strange, and everyone seems to know who Maya's father is. But without a struggle, I guess we have no movie.
In the real world, Maya would get her own special on Animal Planet. She'd reveal Sonia the pet psychic for the fraud she is, and take over as the ultimate pet therapist. She'd be a multimillionaire by the time she could drive. She'd probably inspire a vegan cult that would serve her every whim, and commit acts of terrorism to liberate lab animals in her name. Countries would bid for her powers, and she'd become our most pressing national security concern. Maya could lead an animal revolution, and apes could take over the earth. Yes, Dr. Dolittle 3 could have been so much more awesomely cool than a simple coming of age camp comedy. But what are you going to do?
The best audience for this sappy sequel would be kids who won't mind the lackluster plot, and happy to see another movie with talking dogs and monkeys. It's a fine feature for young teens and smaller kids, with little in the way of objectionable content. Adults won't find much to admire here, but it's cute enough to not be annoying first time through. Everything is slick and polished enough, and the cast prattles through this messy affair without seeming to notice how bad it all is. I kept wondering why John Amos (Good Times) was in here as the ranch owner, but I guess it was a check. Still, both Eddie Murphy and Raven were smart enough to skip this one.
The DVD presentation is pretty dang good actually. Picture and sound clarity are top-notch without any notable problems. Colors are rich, there's no pixilation or noticeable grain. Sound is a pleasing track with a nice use of surrounds. We get a director commentary with Pratt along for the ride which is talky and informative. The only thing strange about the commentary is the two participants are not recorded together, and do not interact. There's a making of featurette, and a TV spot. It's all great stuff considering what a nonevent this sequel is. Plenty of support for a movie that hardly screams out for it.
If we could talk to the animals I'm sure they say "Please, turn this crap off now."
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary with Director Rich Thorne and Kyla Pratt
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