I absolutely love seeing “WTF Hollywood” style disasters. There’s quite a few of these over past few years but the most memorable have been Collateral Beauty,The Book Of Henry and Cats all films with material so insanely misjudged they have to be seen to be believed. When the new Robert Downey Jr take on Dr Dolittle opened in the US it seemed that the behind the scenes troubles had manifested on screen and we were in for another entry in this sub-genre. Just hearing about the scene in which Downey Jr pulls a bagpipe out of a dragon’s ass sounded way too good to be true. So, I grabbed my Unlimited Card and headed to a screening during the films UK preview weekend. Does the sub-genre have a new entry?
Yes and no. There’s no denying that the film is very bad and absolutely descends to the memorable disaster level in places. Downey Jr is terrible, and his Welsh accent is borderline parody. It has a massive tone problem flitting between wannabe old school epic and knockabout kids’ comedy. The film has so clearly been frankensteind together linking whatever footage from the original shoot was still usable with atrocious ADR work and bridging in narration from Emma Thompson’s parrot to push the film out the door in a vaguely releasable form. The Dragons ass scene is every bit as surreal as I had hoped. That said for most of its runtime it’s a very vanilla variety of boring outside of these specific things previously mentioned. It’s just a collection of rather dull set pieces and Michael Sheen chewing the scenery. The Dragon ass is the films climax and then it just ends with the filmmakers no doubt relieved, that they got something vaguely watchable out of this clearly sinking ship of a production.
Doolittle has moments where it reaches the “WTF were they thinking” level but it’s mostly the style of children’s talking animal film that appeared to go extinct 15 years ago. Very young kids might get something out of it but unless you want to see the especially disastrous elements avoid like the plague.
In UK cinemas from February 7th