Dr. Dolittle (film)

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This article is about the 1998 film. For the 1967 film, see Doctor Dolittle (film).
Dr. Dolittle
Man in a white medical coat, with a white stethascope hanging from his neck, and a group of small animals
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Betty Thomas
Produced by John Davis
David T. Friendly
Joseph Singer
Written by Hugh Lofting
Nat Mauldin
Larry Levin
Starring Eddie Murphy
Ossie Davis
Oliver Platt
Peter Boyle
Kristen Wilson
Norm Macdonald
Raven-Symoné
Music by Richard Gibbs
Edited by Peter Teschner
Production
  company
Davis Entertainment
Friendly Films
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) June 26, 1998 (1998-06-26)
Running time 85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70.5 million
Box office $294,456,605[1]

Dr. Dolittle is a 1998 American family comedy film starring Eddie Murphy as a doctor who discovers that he has the ability to talk to (and understand) animals. The film was inspired by the series of children's stories of the same name, but used no material from any of the novels; the main connection is the name and a doctor who can speak to animals, although the pushmi-pullyu, a much-loved feature of the books, notably makes a very brief appearance in a couple of scenes. The first novel had originally been filmed in 1967 as a musical under the same title, a closer adaptation of the book. The earlier film was a box office bomb, but still remains a cult classic and a two-time Academy Award-winner. Although the 1998 film was rated PG-13 by the MPAA, it was marketed as a family film.

The 1998 film was a box office success, despite receiving mixed reviews from critics. The film's success generated 4 sequels; Dr. Dolittle 2, Dr. Dolittle 3, Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief, and Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts.[2]

Plot[edit]

Young John Dolittle talks to his dog (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), who explains dogs sniff each other's butts as a way of greeting, and John does so when meeting his new principal. This behavior concerns his father (Ossie Davis), who hires the local minister to perform an exorcism. When John is scared his dog attacks the minister, and his father gives the dog up for adoption. The incident greatly upsets John and he stops talking to animals.

Thirty years later, John (Eddie Murphy) is now living in San Francisco, California. He is a doctor, married with two children, and an animal hater. His 13-year-old daughter Charisse (Raven-Symoné) demands to be called Paprika, and his youngest daughter Maya (Kyla Pratt) is a nerdy girl who dislikes socializing, and is raising what she believes to be a swan egg so it will bond with her. She also has a Guinea Pig named Rodney (voiced by Chris Rock). John's wife Lisa (Kristen Wilson) wants to spend time with him, while at John's practice, a large medical company owned by Calloway (Peter Boyle) wants to buy his practice, making them a great deal of money.

John takes his family out to the country for a vacation. After taking the family to the country, he has to return to work to see a patient and to bring Maya Rodney. On the way home he hits a dog (voiced by Norm MacDonald) and bumps his head on the windshield. The dog runs off, shouting "Watch where you're going next time, you bone-head!"; the first time that John has understood an animal since his childhood. The next day, John is driving Rodney to the country and Rodney starts talking to him as well, as John is terrified of what is happening to him. During the night, an owl (voiced by Jenna Elfman) asks him to remove a twig in her wing. He obliges and she tells all the animals about his kind act. Soon many animals start asking favors of John. Scared, he goes to see Dr. Sam Litvak (Steven Gilborn) for a CAT scan, but nothing is wrong with him. The next day he finds the dog he nearly hit being taken to a kennel. John rescues the dog and names him Lucky.

That night, John finds that his reputation for understanding animals has spread, and a mass of animals come to him seeking treatment. In the process, John relearns to appreciate his gift and confides in Lucky that he feels more energized about his work than he has in years. A drunken circus monkey tells the doctor about a sick tiger (voiced by Albert Brooks) who is planning to commit suicide. They find the tiger, named Jake, on top of Coit Tower planning to jump, as something in his brain is causing him immense pain. John and Lucky convince Jake they can help him. Lisa and John's partner Mark (Oliver Platt) catch him giving CPR to a rat and have him committed to an insane asylum. Lucky comes to see John and tells him Jake is getting worse, but John is angry at what has happened to him. Lucky leaves, telling John he's hiding from his true self, and John is released when he vows to never talk to animals again. At home, Maya hears the news and tells her grandfather what has happened with him. John overhears this and apologizes to Lucky. During a party where Calloway will buy the company, John and Lucky bring Jake to the clinic to operate on him. The police arrive seeking the tiger, but Lucky gathers all the animals of San Francisco to help guard the building in which John is operating on the tiger.

At the party the guests discover Jake, but John explains what he is doing and gets Jake onto the operating table as the guests watch. John's father confides in Lisa he knows John truly can talk to animals, and she comes to comfort Jake as John works. John finds out that Jake is suffering from a blood clot stuck in his head, and saves his life. Calloway is impressed, but John declines his offer to buy the company. In an epilogue, John is now both a human doctor and a veterinarian, and Maya's egg hatches, revealing it to be an alligator. John and Lucky head to the circus to visit Jake and talk about their future as friends while the song "Talk with the Animals" plays in the background.

Cast[edit]

Voice cast[edit]

Norm Macdonald Lucky Dog
Albert Brooks Jacob Tiger
Chris Rock Rodney Guinea Pig
Reni Santoni Rat #1 Rat
John Leguizamo Rat #2 Rat
Julie Kavner Female Pigeon Pigeon
Garry Shandling Male Pigeon Pigeon
Ellen DeGeneres Prologue Dog Dog
Brian Doyle-Murray Old Beagle Dog
Phil Proctor Drunk Monkey Monkey
Jenna Elfman Owl Owl
Gilbert Gottfried Compulsive Dog Dog
Phyllis Katz Goat Goat
Douglas Shamburger Pound Dog Dog
BaBa Super Pound Dog Dog
Jeff Doucette Possum Possum
Archie Hahn Heavy Woman's Dog Dog
Tom Towles German Shepherd Dog
Eddie Frierson Skunk Skunk
Paul Reubens Raccoon Raccoon
Royce D. Applegate "I Love You" Dog Dog
James F. Dean Orangutan Orangutan
Kevin Spacey "I am Keyser Söze" Dog Dog
Chad Einbinder Bettleheim the Cat Cat
Jonathan Lipnicki Baby Tiger Tiger
Hamilton Camp Pig Pig
Kerrigan Mahan Penguin Penguin

Soundtrack[edit]

Dr. Dolittle
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released June 16, 1998
Recorded 1997–98
Genre Hip hop, R&B
Label Atlantic
Producer Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, The Legendary Traxster, Various
Dr. Dolittle soundtracks chronology
Dr. Dolittle
(1998)
Dr. Dolittle 2
(2001)
Singles from Dr. Dolittle
  1. "Are You That Somebody?"
    Released: June 16, 1998
  2. "Same Ol' G"
    Released: July 28, 1998
  3. "That's Why I Lie"
    Released: September 22, 1998

The soundtrack was released on June 16, 1998 through Atlantic Records and consisted of a blend of hip hop and contemporary R&B. The soundtrack was a huge success, peaking at 4 on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and was certified 2× Multi-Platinum on October 20, 1998. Allmusic rated the soundtrack four stars out of five.[3]

The soundtrack's lone charting single, "Are You That Somebody?" by Aaliyah, also found success, making it to 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received a nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards.[4]

  1. "That's Why I Lie" – 4:51 (Ray J)
  2. "Let's Ride" – 4:53 (Montell Jordan and Shaunta)
  3. "Are You That Somebody?" – 4:27 (Aaliyah)
  4. "Same Ol' G" – 4:21 (Ginuwine)
  5. "Lady Marmalade" (Timbaland Remix) – 4:03 (All Saints)
  6. "Da Funk" – 4:29 (Timbaland)
  7. "Do Little Things" – 5:09 (Changing Faces and Ivan Matias)
  8. "Your Dress" – 3:59 (Playa)
  9. "Woof Woof" – 4:11 (69 Boyz)
  10. "Rock Steady" – 3:05 (Dawn Robinson)
  11. "In Your World" – 4:50 (Twista and Speedknot Mobstaz)
  12. "Lovin' You So" – 3:35 (Jody Watley)
  13. "Dance" – 3:38 (Robin S. and Mary Mary)
  14. "Push 'Em Up" – 3:46 (DJ Toomp, Eddie Kane and Deville)
  15. "Ain't Nothin' but a Party" – 3:57 (The Sugarhill Gang)

Reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews, with a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[5]

Box office[edit]

On its opening weekend, the film grossed $29,014,324 across 2,777 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #1 at the box office, the best debut for an Fox film that week. By the end of its run, Dr. Dolittle had grossed $144,156,605 in the United States and $150,300,000 internationally, totaling $294,456,605 worldwide.[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]