Dr. Dolittle

A bad script robs a boy of his ability to communicate with his dog so that as an adult he can learn to talk to animals all over again. Eddie Murphy plays the twice-blessed—or cursed—Dr. Dolittle; after he pulls a twig from an owl's wing business expands by word of beak. Kyla Pratt is endearing as his youngest daughter, who's willing to give her dad the benefit of the doubt when nearly everyone else—his wife, his colleagues, the HMO guys trying to buy his practice—is sure he's gone crazy. But Nat Mauldin and Larry Levin's screenplay, indifferently directed by Betty Thomas (1998), is simply an excuse for tired scatological jokes involving animal characters with the voices of well-known actors. Based on the stories by Hugh Lofting. PG-13, 85 min.

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