Dolittle Movie Review: Robert Downey Jr is charismatic but Rami Malek & John Cena steal the show

Dolittle Movie Review: As charismatic as Robert Downey Jr's performance was in this Stephen Gaghan directorial, it's the voice cast of the contradicting animals, especially Rami Malek and John Cena, who steal the show in this adventure tale of good vs evil.  
Dolittle Movie Review: Robert Downey Jr is charismatic but Rami Malek & John Cena steal the showDolittle Movie Review: Robert Downey Jr is charismatic but Rami Malek & John Cena steal the show
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Movie Name: Dolittle

Dolittle Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Rami Malek, John Cena, Tom Holland, Selena Gomez

Dolittle Director: Stephen Gaghan

Dolittle Stars: 3/5

After claiming the throne in Hollywood as Iron Man for a decade, the mask and shield came off in 2019 for Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark courageously sacrificed his life in Avengers: Endgame. Many wondered, including moi, as to what direction would RDJ take post the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and given his affinity for playing eccentric characters, we got Dolittle! In what was supposed to be a 2019 release, this Stephen Gaghan directorial went through several reshoots with a staggering budget of $175 million! Does the end justify the mean though? Let's find out.

Just like previous installments, Dolittle tells us the story of Doctor John Dolittle and his bunch of lovable animals as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Set in Victorian England, owing to the original story, Robert takes over a Welsh accent with Sherlockian mannerisms while the voice cast for the animals is jam-packed with star power. Fresh off the cut, Downey impresses us as John Dolittle and even his accent can be part charming while not entirely distractable. It's the humane touch that RDJ adds to his character, no pun intended, that proves yet again why no one can mess with the star power he holds on-screen. Inspite of a charismatic performance, however, it's the voice cast that's the highlight of this adventure voyage.

Rami Malek, as the fearful gorilla Chee-Chee and John Cena, as the warm-blooded polar bear Yoshi are the true scene-stealers of Dolittle and it's their equation with everyone's favourite veterinarian that truly hits home. Other notable funny characters include James (played by Jason Mantzoukas), a dragonfly with some of the wittiest lines in the movie and Plimpton (played by Kumail Nanjiani), a cynical Ostrich, who is literally Dolittle's ride. The other members in the voice cast are more like a blink and miss appearance while not even being memorable enough for a mention. When it comes to the human characters, we have delightfully pleasant performances from Harry Collett as Dolittle's young apprentice Tommy Stubbins and Carmel Laniado as Lady Rose and special aide to Queen Victoria of England. Unfortunately, it's Michael Sheen and Antonio Banderas, who bare the brunt of playing lazy, uninteresting and archetypal villains, thus diminishing a major aspect from a classic tale of good vs evil.

While one can tell at first glance that minute detailing went into the VFX for Dolittle as the grandiose locations are proof of that, we could also make out why there were so many reshoots. Certain set-pieces are truly magical to admire, like the Dolittle mansion, but the several cracks aren't unavoidable, to say the least. Similarly, as endearing as this tale will always be for generations to come, going old-school in the writing (Stephen Gaghan, Dan Gregor and Doug Mand) may have dampened the impact, measurably. Fart jokes are always a no-no!

ALSO READ: PHOTOS: Robert Downey Jr, Selena Gomez, Rami Malek are at their goofy best at the Dolittle premiere

Nevertheless, as someone who loves an endearing and heartwarming anecdote encompassing the love between a man and his animals, I can attest to a warm, fuzzy feeling towards the end of Dolittle that isn't much to think about but is still entertaining.

 

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