Dr. Dolittle Presents ...
The biggest problem "Dr. Dolittle 3" has is of expectations especially for those who enjoyed the previous two movies with Eddie Murphy in. And unfortunately as the third movie in the series it doesn't live up to those expectations because there is no Eddie Murphy and the focus switches to young Maya Dolittle coming to terms with being able to talk to the animals. In truth "Dr. Dolittle 3" should have been called something like "Dr. Dolittle presents Dude Ranch" as it is more of an off shoot and one which targets a younger audience rather than those who watched the first two movies. And in fairness whilst there is nothing original about "Dr. Dolittle 3" the simple story and obvious humour is fine for younger children.
With her birthday approaching young Maya Dolittle (Kyla Pratt) is struggling with the fact that she to has inherited the strange gift of being able to talk to the animals and she hates it because her friends think she is a freak. Realising her struggles Maya's mum send her to spend a few weeks at Durango a dude ranch for teenagers, something which city girl Maya is less than impressed about especially as the place is run down and she is surrounded by animals. But as Maya grows to enjoy Durango and the company of Bo Jones (Walker Howard), the son of Jud (John Amos - My Baby's Daddy) who owns the ranch she discovers that they are going to have to sell up so uses her special talents to try and help out.
So as already mentioned "Dr. Dolittle 3" isn't really a sequel, there is no Eddie Murphy and the focus of the story is on Maya coming to terms with being able to talk to the animals. Now on one hand it is disappointing because the first two movies were all about Murphy and so if you watched this expecting more of the same you going to end up cheesed off. But on the other hand it does work and the simple fun storyline of Maya on a dude ranch embracing her ability is fun for younger audiences. So as already mentioned this third movie should have been called something slightly different just too really separate itself from the previous 2 more grown up movies.
As for the actual story this time around well "Dr. Dolittle 3" is little more than series of familiar cliches from city kids not being very good at doing ranch stuff such as roping and riding, to Maya ending up helping save the ranch from having to sell up. Again from an adult's point of view it is disappointing because it is nothing but cliche and all done in a light and frankly often cheesy manner. But it is fun enough for young audiences who probably won't have watched other similar movies or even spot the cliches. Although as an adult I had to smile when we get introduced to the Rooster called Cogburn.
And as for the acting well it is as obvious as the rest of the movie but at the same time Kyla Pratt doesn't do a bad job as Maya Dolittle. Yes the character of Maya is annoying at times but Kyla also makes her easy to like as she transforms and embraces her special gift. Aside from that well John Amos is underused as Jud but at least he adds some maturity to things and Walker Howard is fine as Bo the hunky rancher/ romantic interest for Maya.
What this all boils down to is that on one hand "Dr. Dolittle 3" is disappointing because it is not a real sequel and changes the focus of the series to Maya Dolittle. But at the same time it works fine for younger teenagers who to be honest are the target audience rather than older teens and young adults who enjoyed the first two movies.