Robert Downey Jr's first post-Avengers movie 'Dolittle' is getting panned

Ben ArnoldContributor
Robert Downey Jr in Dolittle (Credit: Universal)
Robert Downey Jr in Dolittle (Credit: Universal)

As Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr could do no wrong... but as Doctor Dolittle, he's getting an absolute pasting.

RDJ's first post-Avengers role is not going down well among critics, who have taken it apart mercilessly.

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Iron Man plays a reinvented version of writer Hugh Lofting's character, most memorable from Rex Harrison' musical portrayal in 1967.

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But it appear that Downey Jr's take on the physician who can talk to animals is memorable for all the wrong reasons.

“At some point during its troubled gestation, the movie once known as The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle was renamed Dolittle... it's too bad that the rest of this movie couldn't have been ditched as well, or at least dramatically shortened,” writes The New York Times.

(Credit: Universal)
(Credit: Universal)

Notes Vulture: “I wasn't expecting Dolittle to be good, exactly, but I wasn't expecting it to be quite this bad.”

Variety reckons: “What should have been an awe-filled adventure quickly curdles into an awful one, thanks to a pedestrian formula and the filmmakers' fixation on fart jokes.”

Per the New York Post: “There's got to be a moment, as an actor watches himself on-screen pulling bagpipes out of a CGI dragon's rear end, that he thinks, 'Have I really fallen this far?'”

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The Wrap says it 'splats onto the screen like horse dung, with few laughs and no charm. Even the actor's legendary charisma, which this project sorely needed, gets tamped down'.

AV Club decries its 'confused, sweaty, zigzag approach to storytelling, which waves away inconvenient details and waves in lame jokes with an equal sense of desperation'.

Many also picked up on the strange choice of screenwriter for the project.

(Credit: Universal)
(Credit: Universal)

“Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic), usually a smart, prestige-drama writer/director, is the absolutely oddest choice to direct this broad and lame CGI-laden family film,” adds The Playlist.

Noted The Washington Post: “Everyone knows that if you don't have anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all. Less well known is the adage: 'You can't publish a movie review that is entirely blank.'”

Veteran critic Richard Roeper in the Chicago Sun-Times simply pleaded: “Please make it stop.”

That said, Vanity Fair was much kinder.

“Dolittle is a film made for children. So we should probably mostly view it through that lens. In that regard, the movie is perfectly okay,” wrote Richard Lawson.

So far, we've no British reviews, but we can't imagine they'll be a vast improvement.

Co-starring Michael Sheen and Antonio Banderas, and featuring a stellar voice cast including Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, and Marion Cotillard, the movie lands in the UK on February 7.

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