There’s no other way to put it: Dolittle is absolute rubbish. It’s not the kind of film that makes my head explode at the utter stupidity that I’m witnessing. It’s just as lifeless as my mom’s potted plants when she goes out of town and leaves watering duties to me. The film is critically panned and has a low 16% Rotten on popular aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Not only that, Dolittle also failed to make a splash at the box office, despite starring Robert Downey Jr. After more than two weeks in cinemas, the $US 175 million film has only managed to gross $US 126 million at the global box office. The studio is now preparing for a $US 100 million loss.
Dolittle has no vision or voice. It feels like it’s made by a large committee of people in suits and ties slicing and dicing away as they please. And a new report by The Hollywood Reporter highlights the cluelessness of everyone working on this project. Here are some key points:
- While there were studio hands and veteran producers such as Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum involved with the production, insiders say it was Downey and Susan Downey, his wife and producing partner, that primarily held creative control.
- The assembled version was said to not feel like a family movie; it lacked comedic elements and, considering it was about talking animals, a fair amount of special effects. It became apparent, a source close to the project stresses, that “this is not the kind of movie he [the director, Stephen Gaghan] should have directed.” *Which is just baffling. Why would anyone hire the director of intense adult dramas like Syriana and Traffic to helm a children’s movie with fart jokes?
- The wild card appears to have been Downey. Despite a course having been set for the film’s third-act climax, Downey charted a path for a new direction. Several sources say it was the actor-producer who came up with the idea of the dragon colonoscopy/enema moment at the last minute. He and his reps declined to comment for this story.
As more and more of these reports come out, it’s easy to see why the film failed at such a drastic level, both critically and at the box office.
Dolittle is currently playing in Malaysian cinemas.