Dr. Dolittle (film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Betty Thomas|
|Produced by||John Davis
David T. Friendly
|Written by||Hugh Lofting
|Music by||Richard Gibbs|
|Edited by||Peter Teschner|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|June 26, 1998|
|Box office||$294.4 million|
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 (albeit still very loose) 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 four sequels; Dr. Dolittle 2, Dr. Dolittle 3, Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief, and Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2015)|
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 intimidated, 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, eventually forgetting he could. Unfortunately, John gets bullied by the others at school.
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, similar to Salt-n-Pepa, 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 is trying to raise Maya to social and fit in, just like his dad raised him, but she refuses. 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 bring Maya's pet guinea pig Rodney. On the way home, , John accidentally 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 attempts to set him free, but in a twist of fate - Maya overhears the dog's barking, and assumes the dog is a gift for her. Reluctantly, John decides to let him stay, giving him a real name: 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, and that she liked the idea that her daddy could talk to animals. Eventually, this makes him feel terrible for not letting his son keep his talent or accepting it himself. John overhears this, remembers his childhood tragedy 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, finally realizing John's ability as the gift it is, confides in Lisa that he knows John truly can talk to animals. Archer originally thought it was only a handicap, but Maya made him see it was a gift. Lisa comes inside 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.
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- Eddie Murphy as Dr. John Dolittle
- Ossie Davis as Grandpa Archer Dolittle
- Oliver Platt as Dr. Mark Weller
- Peter Boyle as Mr. Calloway
- Richard Schiff as Dr. Gene "Geno" Reiss
- Kristen Wilson as Lisa Dolittle
- Jeffrey Tambor as Dr. Fish
- Kyla Pratt as Maya Dolittle
- Raven-Symoné as Charisse Dolittle
- Paul Giamatti as Blaine Hammersmith (uncredited)
- Pruitt Taylor Vince as Patient at Hammersmith (uncredited)
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||June 16, 1998|
|Genre||Hip hop, R&B|
|Producer||Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, The Legendary Traxster, Various|
|Dr. Dolittle soundtracks chronology|
|Singles from Dr. Dolittle|
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.
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.
- "That's Why I Lie" – 4:51 (Ray J)
- "Let's Ride" – 4:53 (Montell Jordan and Shaunta)
- "Are You That Somebody?" – 4:27 (Aaliyah)
- "Same Ol' G" – 4:21 (Ginuwine)
- "Lady Marmalade" (Timbaland Remix) – 4:03 (All Saints)
- "Da Funk" – 4:29 (Timbaland)
- "Do Little Things" – 5:09 (Changing Faces and Ivan Matias)
- "Your Dress" – 3:59 (Playa)
- "Woof Woof" – 4:11 (69 Boyz)
- "Rock Steady" – 3:05 (Dawn Robinson)
- "In Your World" – 4:50 (Twista and Speedknot Mobstaz)
- "Lovin' You So" – 3:35 (Jody Watley)
- "Dance" – 3:38 (Robin S. and Mary Mary)
- "Push 'Em Up" – 3:46 (DJ Toomp, Eddie Kane and Deville)
- "Ain't Nothin' but a Party" – 3:57 (The Sugarhill Gang)
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.
- "Doctor Dolittle (1998)". boxofficemojo.com.
- Dr. Dolittle Million Dollar Mutts at the Internet Movie Database
- Allmusic review
- "Nine Things We'll Never Forget About Aaliyah". Retrieved October 7, 2010.
- "Dr. Dolittle (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
- "Dr. Dolittle (1998)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 2011-07-27.