Eddie Murphy as Dr. John Dolittle in Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)

Dolittle's Just About Bear-able

The thing about "Dr. Dolittle 2" is to remember it's a movie for children, not for family just children. If you watch it thinking that there will be humour for all ages you are going to end up desperately bored because the jokes are simple, plenty and stupid. Yes the basis of this sequel is a social conscience plot as we have evil businessmen destroying forests and animal habitat but other than slamming home a message about protecting nature there is no depth to a simple story. As I said this is a movie for children and simplicity combined with humour is that it is all about.

Dr. John Dolittle (Eddie Murphy - Nutty Professor II: The Klumps) is a very busy man with animals queuing up for his help be it a medical problem or just someone to talk to. But John could do with someone to talk to himself as he is having teen troubles with his eldest daughter Charisse (Raven-Symoné). But all that has to be put to the side when he gets asked by The Beaver to help because loggers are destroying the home for thousands of animals and they want him to fight their corner. How, well that involves a circus bear, a wild bear and Dolittle becoming Dr. Love.

Raven-Symoné as Charisse Dolittle in Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)

So if you want a storyline well we have Dr. John Dolittle answering natures call to come to their rescue when a logging company is tearing down their habitat. The plan to save the forest focuses on John trying to get a circus bear to become a wild bear so he will breed with a rare bear and that is it. Actually that is not because typically we need to have a few family issues from John spending so much time with the animals his wife feels a little ignored to his eldest daughter Charisse having some typical and not so typical teen issues. But basically everything is uncomplicated and obvious, ideal for a young audience.

What this means is that much of "Dr. Dolittle 2" focuses on John trying to get Archie the circus bear to bear up so Ava the wild bear will take a fancy to him. We have attempts to get Archie to fish, to act tough and so much more including a rather lame "Rocky" scene. But none of this is clever and is all very simple with simple humour to make young ones laugh. Whether you think gags about bears farting, animals urinating and a giant tortoise on Viagra is suitable for younger audiences is a matter of taste and whilst there is nothing blatantly offensive some of the humour sails close to the wind.

As such "Dr. Dolittle 2" is about Eddie Murphy interacting with Archie the bear and in many ways it is Murphy's performance which makes things bearable. Here we have a sanitized Murphy, as you would expect, with not a single F-word in sight but he has that attitude back, that cockiness of some of his earlier movies and it makes it entertaining. Good job too because with the exception of Raven-Symoné the rest of the cast doesn't really get a look in with the talented Kevin Pollack wasted as a lawyer for the logging business.

What this all boils down to is that "Dr. Dolittle 2" targets young children and only young children with a simple story and simple humour. Some of the humour sails a bit close to the wind with body fluid gags but it is basically inoffensive and strangely not as bad as you expect.