Film review: Dr. Dolittle 3 (2006), directed by Rich Thorne
While I did say that I wasn’t going to bother watching this after having seen the lacklustre Dr. Dolittle 2, I ended up watching it recently anyway. You know what? It was better than I expected. Which perhaps isn’t saying a lot.
Maya Dolittle (Kyla Pratt) has inherited her father’s interspecies communication skillz, but she just wants to be a normal teenager and not just some freak who can talk to animals. Her mother (Kristen Wilson) decides to send her to Durango, a summer camp on a farm, in order to make her come to terms with who she is – and to give her a fresh start.
Maya introduces herself as Maya Dolores Haines and pretends she can’t talk to animals. Loyal dog Lucky (voiced by Norm MacDonald) decides to join her.
Durango is a farm on its knees, and owner Jud Jones (John Amos) might have to sell up to a nearby (much fancier) farm. This would be sad, because Durango isn’t actually the dump Maya first thinks it is – and besides, Jud’s son Bo (Walker Howard) is the handsomest cowboy she has ever laid her eyes on.
Also starring Luciana Carro as Brooklyn (the rival), Tommy Snider as Clayton (the fat kid), and Calum Worthy as Tyler (the redhead).
Okay, let’s be honest. Even though I said it was better than expected, that isn’t to say it’s an outstanding film in any way. It’s a cliché-ridden, bog-standard teen film that went straight to video. But because I didn’t expect anything of it, let alone quality, I still found it reasonably enjoyable to watch.
Dr Dolittle himself (Eddie Murphy) is noticably absent from this film, despite being the main character of the previous two films. This is actually a good thing. I don’t really have an opinion of the guy either way, but shifting focus to his daughter means the film can shift target audience a bit as well. You don’t have to try including adults in it, and that’s an improvement. Besides, cute talking animals!
Brooklyn is there as a rival to Maya and of course they instantly don’t get along. Clayton is there to be the Fat Slob who keeps eating all the time (yay for reinforcing negative stereotypes) and provide occasional comic relief, as is weedy ginger Tyler. It’s simple, but it’s not meant to be anything else. And yes, Bo is cute, and of course, obstacles are overcome so that it’s a very sweet ending, like you’d expect.
Dr. Dolittle 3 is the sort of film you can watch on a Sunday afternoon when it’s raining and there’s sod all else to do. It passes the time.
2.9 out of 5 henpecked roosters.