Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts
by Laura Tucker
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The story of Doctor Dolittle, the man who could talk to animals, is quite old, ninety years old in fact, and has gone through many incarnations. It started as a book series, then moved on to film, a radio series, a cartoon series, a stage adaptation, and a musical. In 1998, Eddie Murphy took on the role of the famous doctor, with Raven-Symone and Kyla Platt playing his daughters, Charisse and Maya, and Kristen Wilson playing his wife Lisa. They stuck it out for the original movie and a sequel, but by the time the second sequel came around, Kyla Platt was the only one left, carrying on the family tradition of talking to animals.
Now on its fourth sequel, Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts, Platt is still playing the young girl who talks to animals, with Karen Holness taking on the role of her mother for the second film in a row. The story has Maya ready to go off to college to take veterinary classes in order to help even more animals. Her dog, Lucky, obviously objects, with and age-old plot device of unpacking her suitcase as she packs it.
Maya goes out to Hollywood and visits with Tiffany Monaco (Tegan Moss) who has her own show. Tiffany and her producer, Rick Beverley (Jason Bryden) want to take advantage of Maya’s talent to build another show. She also meets a star, Brandon Turner (Brandon Jay McLaren) who seems interested in her and also happens to be a dog lover. Maya is in no hurry to come back home and leave all this, but can’t find it in her to tell her mom about the the TV show idea and not wanting to go to college anymore.
By the time we get to this sequel we don’t seem like we’re still watching a family movie, as it now sees like a kids’ movie. Unlike Marley & Me, this is a movie I would only watch with my daughter, and not one I would watch on my own. It’s not that it’s not a good movie, it’s just more the speed of something kids only would enjoy with lines such as Lucky saying, “I’ll bark to that,” Maya buying something on credit in a store and seeing the message “super approved” on the cash register, and Lucky meeting a female dog he likes, a collie, and saying, “Bow WOW!” There are other plot devices that stretch believability, such as the crowd at a nightclub cheering when a monkey goofs around at the bar.
Yet, to continue this franchise, it’s probably the only way to go with this, as this intended audience of young kids will keep following the series and keep it alive.
Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, as well as Troubled Hollywood, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints and Sazze, . She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com
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