From Iron Man to Dolittle: Is Downey Jr.’s new film an anti-cinema performance or a solid family movie?

Dolittle
The Universal Pictures release of Dolittle, which is in theaters Friday, is being met with harsh reviews from critics. (Paramount Pictures photo via Amazon)

The third remake of Dr. Dolittle — Dolittle — is already facing some critically negative reviews by the media — and the movie has even hit theaters yet.

The remake, which stars iconic actor Robert Downey Jr. and directed by Stephen Gaghan, is among a long line of remakes that have been released since 2010 and among the first remakes to hit theaters in this current decade.

The role was more famously portrayed by Rex Harrison in the 1967 original, by Eddie Murphy in the 1998 remake and 2001 sequel and by Kyla Pratt in Dr. Dolittle 3 to round out the Murphy/Pratt run in 2006.

Negative reviews have come to light days before the movie hits theaters Friday, Jan. 17, which appears to be a desperately intentional hit set to end the career of Downey Jr.:

  • Matthew Wright, Daily Mail: “Dolittle is the first worst movie of 2020”
  • Kevin Fallon, The Daily Beast: “Dolittle is a confusingly weird kids movie”
  • Bilge Ebiri, Vulture: “Dolittle is anti-cinema…I wasn’t expecting Dolittle to be good, exactly, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite this bad…Dolittle is a calamity for the ages.”
  • Rotten Tomatoes: “Dolittle has a jumbled story and stale humor,” rated initially by critics at 13%
  • Additional criticisms include how Downey Jr. looked when giving a CGI squirrel mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and an “unacceptable” British accent.

The social media team behind the film jokingly referred to Downey Jr. as “not a people person” in an October 2019 tweet under a #DolittleMovie hashtag.

The plot is not that different from the prior films: a physician discovers his ability to talk to animals. In this incarnation, the animals are voiced by WWE Superstar and rapper John Cena, pop superstar Selena Gomez, actor Rami Malek (Mr. Robot, Bohemian Rhapsody) and comedians Craig Robinson and Jason Mantzoukas among a star-studded cast.

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While the critics and so-called professional film connoisseurs are harsh toward the production, fans are excited to see a seasoned veteran like Downey Jr. transition from Iron Man to a doctor who can have conversations with animals.

There is some hope, though: IMDb may appear as motivation for the veteran actor, as it encourages fans to watch the movie, calling it “solid family fare” with an average fan rating of 6.2 out of 10.

Are the critics right? Are the fans right and the critics don’t know what they’re talking about? Is the film as “anti-cinema” as the chief culture vulture at Vulture claims? You be the judge of how the film is, with a clear mind and ignoring critics.

Dolittle - Official Trailer

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Olivia Hartley is a professional content writer and digital marketer for GoGetDeals UK, a voucher and discount code providing platform. Olivia is an expert in digital marketing, content marketing and lead generation.