Eddie Murphy continues to repeat his successful formula of mixing comedy with high-tech special effects with this family comedy, although this time he's not the one underneath a mountain of makeup. Director Betty Thomas scores another coup at the box office, and all concerned will be quickly on their way to sequel-ville, even if Murphy is doing not much more than his best Bill Cosby imitation. It doesn't matter, because the real stars of Dr. Dolittle are the host of talking animals. Spouting cleverly written lines via vocal cameos from aptly cast celebrities and doing so with the help of a convincing special effects cocktail of digital animation, live animals, and puppets, the chatting critters are the real reason to check out the film. Everyone from Murphy and Thomas to the film's clever marketing strategists knows it, with the star pulling back from his showy, multiple role-playing kinetics to portray an affable healer. Fox has discovered a successful formula here that genuinely appeals to a wide array of ages, and just as with Murphy's Nutty Professor series, the filmmakers and studio should reap the rewards of a long-running franchise if the one-liners remain funny and the animals entertaining.