Dr. Dolittle

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1 1/2

Comic Eddie Murphy plays the straight man to an all-star cast of hilarious talking animals in this clever update of a 1967 movie. As Dr. John Dolittle, he has a booming medical practice, a lovely wife (Kristen Wilson), and two adorable daughters (Kyla Pratt and Raven-Symone). But the doctor's long-suppressed childhood ability to hear and understand animals unexpectedly resurfaces with his daughter's pet guinea pig. Suddenly all creatures great and small, including rats, pigeons, lambs, an owl, a homeless dog and even a suicidal circus tiger flock to this human who can understand and even heal them. But the harder Dr. Dolittle tries to cover up the existence of his second "family," the darker the storm clouds become at home and at work. The film's outstanding special effects give the animals human personalities with their clever dialogue. The non-stop laughter, especially from children, makes it difficult to hear all the lines. DR DOLITTLE will be a winner for those who just want to sit back and laugh. You don't even need popcorn to enjoy this one.

Why, oh why, would filmmakers make a movie like this with a PG-13 rating? One of the earliest scenes shows John Dolittle as a small boy sniffing a grown man's rear because his dog had told him that's how dogs get to know each other. Other jokes about flatulence and bathroom humor so prevalent even in today's PG-rated comedies seem to overturn young viewers' giggle boxes, and DR. DOLITTLE plays to that audience. However, the film's crude language and profanities, plus some slang terms for genitals and sex, have no place in a movie that's targeted for kids. Except for a few suggestive remarks, there is no sexual content, and no nudity or homosexuality. A door slammed in a man's face, followed by a hit to his nose, and a dog hit by a car are the film's only violence. On the positive side, the doctor treats his family with respect, and they learn to accept his unique talent as a special gift. Foul language fouls another potentially fun movie for the family.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
20th Century Fox, 10201 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (21) times - Mild 4, Moderate 17

Obscene Language: Few (2) times - slang word for sex, male genitals

Profanity: Several (8) times - Regular 4 (G 1, J 3), Exclamatory 4

Violence: Twice - Moderate (man's nose broken by hits from door and fist)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (comical references to sex by animals; wife tries to interest husband in sex)

Drugs: Few times (alcoholic monkey drinks whiskey, not condoned)

Other: Bathroom humor (jokes about flatulence, rectal thermometer; guinea pig in toilet; boy sniffs man's rear )

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Ages 8 and up

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.