There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Although disguised as a movie targeted to children—and, to judge by the squirmers in the audience for the screening I saw, very small children—Dr. Dolittle 2 is but the latest installment in Hollywood’s shameful antiparenting crusade. Here’s DR2 producer John Davis: “You’re always happiest when your children come up to you and say, ‘Dad, I loved that movie, it was totally cool.’” May one assume that the kids run the Davis household the way they run Dr. D’s? Though Eddie Murphy is still too young-looking to be entirely convincing as a father figure, at least he’s trying. In an early scene, Murphy’s beleaguered Doc is surprised that his daughter (Raven-Symone) plans to go out on a date instead of celebrate her 16th birthday with the family. Mother (Kristen Wilson), however, is surprised only that Dad would question this decision, and, when asked who the boyfriend is, expresses near disgust at the notion that she should be even the slightest bit curious. Hey, the gal just turned 16—leave her alone! When Dad (properly) takes away the kid’s cell phone after discovering her lousy report card and remarks that she has “50 numbers on this, and none of them are mine,” Mom again toes the Hollywood line that children need space, at any age, in any circumstance. This, of course, is so that they can become the foulmouthed wisecrackers we see on sitcoms. The plot, which involves getting a circus bear laid so that a creature-filled forest can be saved, succumbs to the curse of most sequels: piling on too much story, here overexplained by Lucky the Dog’s (voiced by Norm Macdonald) tired narration. Sure, “making whoopie” was the point of those Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies my parents took the family to see at the drive-in, but those films operated on a much higher level of innuendo and never involved close-up shots of raccoon urine. As if the rampant nookie talk weren’t enough, the poo-poo humor is also pervasive—and literal. That said, DR3 should concentrate on the adventures of the drunk monkey (Phil Proctor) and the weasel (a perfectly cast Andy Dick). Those dudes are funny. —Dave Nuttycombe