An (non-musical) update of the 1967 classic, this has comic Eddie Murphy starring as Dr John Dolittle, who finds he can suddenly understand what animals are saying. Unfortunately, this means lots of animals are coming to him for medical advice, while his family and business partners think he’s gone crazy.
Fans of the Hugh Lofting books won’t recognise many similarities to them in this modern reworking of the story, and parents looking for a piece of wholesome entertainment should note that these animals don’t only have a late-20th century attitude, they have the occasionally raunchy language to match. But it’s very funny in places, thanks to a witty script and stars including Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Paul Reubens and Chris Rock providing the animal voices, and it looks impressive when the animals talk, thanks to some clever computer wizardry. A sequel, Dr Dolittle 2, in which the doc has to save a circus bear, isn’t quite as funny but is worth a look if you like the first movie.
Is Doctor Dolittle 1998 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...