Dolittle: Robert Downey Jr’s “Awfully Good” follow-up to the MCU was a bomb

Robert Downey Jr’s Dolittle stands as one of the biggest bombs of the last decade, so we give it the Awfully Good treatment.

Last Updated on June 5, 2024

With Robert Downey Jr. finally winning an Oscar for Oppenheimer and co-starring in the acclaimed HBO miniseries The Sympathizer, Awfully Good Movies is looking back at RDJ’s first and failed attempt at a post-Marvel franchise in the failed family fantasy Dolittle!

Right after Tony Stark’s epic exit from the MCU, Downey hopped on to star in and co-produce alongside his wife Susan a new adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s children’s book series about the veterinarian who can talk all the languages of his animal patients, this time without any overlong musical numbers from Rex Harrison or silly mugging from Eddie Murphy. However, much like the 1998 version, Dolittle’s animals would be voiced by a huge array of talented actors, including RDJ’s former Avengers co-star Tom Holland and future Oppenheimer co-star Rami Malek, and the long-awaited teaming of Dame Emma Thompson and John Cena that we’ve yet to see at a WrestleMania event.

But thanks to some obvious rewrites from Chris McKay of Lego Batman and Renfield, these CGI’ed animals making Rush Hour references in Victorian London all but ruin whatever fantastical charm that Oscar-winning director Stephen Gaghan and Downey were going for, along with RDJ’s obviously dubbed Welsh accent belongs in the pantheon of bad accents next to Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. And the rest of the talented live-action cast–Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Antonio Banderas as the sexiest pirate since Jack Sparrow–are all wasted as the voice cast on a confused mess that has RDJ going full… well, you know.

Thank God for Christopher Nolan helping to sober up Robert once more, because even with the other two Dolittle films not being particularly good, this version has a particular emphasis on the “DOO” in Dolittle. If animals could indeed talk, they’d surely demand a better movie than this.

Previously on Awfully Good Movies:




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