Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Comedy, Animal Picture, Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Release Date - Jun 22, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Hilarious scenes involving comic star Eddie Murphy talking to the animals combine with some badly handled subplots, poor transitions, and inane characters to result in a mishmash of a family comedy sequel. The interactions between Murphy and the central zoological figure of the story, a bear named Archie (well voiced by Steve Zahn), are the high-concept spine of the film, and these moments work brilliantly. Trying to provide lessons in machismo and romance to a soft, pampered circus bear, Murphy comes to farcical life, openly channeling Bill Cosby so well that his performance has to be labeled homage. Other scenes involving communicative fauna work just as well, with Dr. Dolittle meeting the "Godbeaver," and backing up cable TV's crocodile hunter. In the B-stories and connecting threads between its clip reel highlights, however, Steve Carr's follow-up falls badly to pieces. Two subplots involving Dolittle's daughter (Raven-Symone) take too much time away from the main plot line and don't provide much fun. Even worse are a pair of greedy developers played by Jeffrey Jones and Kevin Pollak, solid performers utterly lost in characters so slight and virtually cameo-like in nature that it's a distraction that anyone recognizable played them. Dr. Dolittle 2 has its worthwhile moments and kids will probably love it, but it feels too much like a collection of terrific central scenes around which a flimsy plot has been hurriedly pasted together.