Dolittle will delight small children and drive adults mad
Robert Downey Jr. takes his hand out of the Infinity Gauntlet and puts it in a dragon’s butt
Sometimes you just want more for someone, even if they are rich, famous, and probably doing fine. Today, that person is Robert Downey Jr., star of Dolittle, in which he plays an eccentric doctor who can talk to garish, computer-generated animals. Dolittle is Downey’s first big feature film after retiring from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet he exhibits none of the trademark charisma audiences might hope for after ten years of Tony Stark (and a few years as a pretty fun Sherlock Holmes).
Like a good fairy tale, the movie delivers Doctor Dolittle’s backstory via storybook illustrations: how John Dolittle and his wife devoted their lives to helping animals, could speak their languages, and how her death during a voyage at sea caused him to retreat from the world, becoming a hermit in his manor / nature preserve. He’s forced to abandon his agoraphobic lifestyle when two children intrude to tell him the Queen of England is sick, and if she dies, the successor to the throne has plans to take Dolittle’s estate from both him and the animals he safeguards.
It’s perfectly inoffensive stuff, until Robert Downey Jr. opens his mouth and starts speaking with a bizarre Welsh accent, one that you’ll refuse to accept for about a third of the movie and yet somehow he just keeps doing it. It’s a performance that’s a bummer in more ways than one.